Take the plunge and explore three popular ways that will help you navigate through difficult times:
Why does talking to someone about our problems make us feel better? Therapy sessions are growing in popularity around the world. In order for it to work, people need to stick to regular sessions for a few months before they can see an improvement in their mental state and well-being. The longer we commit, the longer we can benefit from the results. Yet, it is still not known why therapy works.
CBT, DBT, NLP, Gestalt existential schema, Psychoanalysis, Family therapy, to name just a few. Each approach constructs its unique take on the human mind and is addressing issues and illness. Studies have been curious about which is the most effective. As a result, many experiments were conducted to see which produces the best results. The conclusion was that various therapies are very similar in effectiveness. Some seem to work better for certain problems: for example, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) seems to be better for anxiety and understanding mental patterns in order to make practical changes; NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) creates an excellent basis for personal development making it easier for people to change their thoughts and actions. It’s important to add though that consistency seems to matter more than modality. Having that one person whom you can rely on and who listens with interest, the context and the environment, sorting yourself out in front of that someone is what matters.
In the words of Mark Manson, why does writing down our crazy thoughts make us feel better? Franklin, Darwin, Da Vinci, Curie are some of the famous journalers who used journaling to help structure their thoughts and think better. In the 1960s and 1970s, it became clear that journaling has therapeutic benefits. The mental benefits of journaling are close to the benefits of talk therapy. There is something powerful about verbalising and writing down your thoughts and feelings. It makes them have less of a grip on us and that’s empowering. Journaling allows you to verbalise thoughts and feelings, and respond to everything that is going on non-judgementally. You can use journaling in the following ways:
- calming and clearing your mind;
- releasing stress;
- exploring your experiences with anxiety;
- writing about your struggles and your successes;
- enhancing your self-awareness and teaching you about your triggers;
- tracking your progress as you undergo treatment;
- keeping a gratitude journal.
Why does sitting on the floor and observing our breath make us feel better? Seen first as an Eastern mysterious practice, meditation has been into the spotlight for the past 10 – 15 years, practiced by celebrities, introduced by psychologists into clinical work and widely adopted by the world in its variety of cultures and religions. Meditation works the same way as therapy or journaling, just that it skips the verbalising or putting everything into words, thus allowing time for disconnecting from our senses and thinking. With meditation, one can:
- lengthen the attention span and concentration;
- reduce anxiety;
- prevent age related memory loss;
- improve sleep;
- fight addiction;
- maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
In order to navigate through difficult times, therapy, journaling, and meditation are three tools for building self-awareness and looking head-on at our ego. While therapy does this in a safe environment, with a thoughtful person inviting us to express our thoughts and feelings, journaling does it by bringing out our thoughts and feelings while looking inwards. Meditation teaches us to observe our thoughts and feelings, as if they were separate from ourselves. We shift the internal into external, move from subjective to objective. Once our thoughts, feelings and impulses are separated from the “I”, we can choose if we wish to keep them, integrate them or simply work on letting them go.
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