New Years Resolutions?
As the holiday season wraps up, we’ll all start hearing about pros and cons of New Year’s resolutions. Although resolutions alone don’t always work, this is a great cultural tradition that helps us focus on the fresh, and think about positive goals that can help us lead happier, healthier lives.
For some of us, New Year’s resolutions or meeting goals is harder than for others. I specialize in providing counseling services people who have experienced trauma, severe anxiety, and/or post-traumatic stress (PTSD). This can come with some nasty, miserable symptoms like panic attacks, frequent worrying, overwhelming anxiety spells, nightmares, and depression. Any of these can understandably get in the way of dreams and goals.
Setting Intensions Instead of Resolutions
When I begin work with clients, I often suggest they focus first on the positive things they want out of life, rather than simply getting rid of the negative ones. That’s because we all want out of suffering in the short-term, but long-term needs and motivations are ultimately more powerful. It’s actually more helpful to focus on intentions for the year or foreseeable future, rather than New Year’s resolutions, which don’t necessarily work.
For some, getting the motivation simply to take a next step in healing can be difficult. It may be very hard just to get out of the house and go to the grocery store, let alone get up the courage to make a counseling appointment or go to a support group. If you’re struggling with your next step in healing and feel stuck, try to ask yourself these three questions.
Am I avoiding?
Avoidance is one of the hallmark symptoms of anxiety and post traumatic stress problems. It’s often necessary in the short term, but in the long run it makes problems worse. Imagine if you have an infection and are in denial about it. It might fester and get worse over time without treatment. For some, anxiety or PTSD can be similar. Avoidance keeps many people from taking the steps necessary to find support or make a first therapy appointment. If you’re ready but feel avoidance kicking in, try moving forward anyway, or get help from a friend to make that first call.
Am I discouraged?
Many people have tried options like therapy and they just didn’t work. We call the most common treatments “therapy as usual,” and it’s what many clinicians practice. You may go into sessions and talk about the week, while you mostly lead the topics that come up. This type of therapy does help people and sometimes you get better over time. However, for more complicated issues like severe anxiety, phobias, and PTSD, you may need more targeted treatment. At Aspire Counseling we use specialized, evidence-based treatments that work more efficiently than what you may have tried before.
Am I motivated?
It’s helpful to know what we don’t want in life. Pretty much no one wants to experience frequent anxiety, nightmares, panic attacks, phobias or depression. However, for long term change it’s more beneficial to know what we do want. This comes down to finding a purpose and setting intentions to follow our dreams. This fuel can help you find the motivations to take difficult steps like starting trauma therapy, because miserable symptoms suck up your hopes and energy. Counter these symptoms by imagining what life could be like without them.
Ready to Improve Your Mental Health in the New Year?
1:Learn more about setting intentions instead of resolutions
I wrote more about this topic in another recent blog post.
2: Attend our Intention Setting Workshop in January
If you’d like support in identifying your inspiration and setting intentions for 2019, consider joining us at an easy, fun intention-setting event on Jan. 19. I’ll be hosting this workshop at Aspire Counseling and I’d love to see you there. Save your spot by calling or texting 573/291-7315 before Jan. 14.
3: Consider speaking to a mental health professional
Are you ready to make changes and be free from severe anxiety, trauma symptoms or PTSD? Schedule a free, in person consultation with a specialized therapist at Aspire Counseling. First appointments are gentle and informative.
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