I recently received some CBT, don’t worry nothing dodgy or illegal, for those not in the know this is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. My therapist was a lovely lady from the West Country who swore a bit and used the word “peach” to describe excellent examples of how I was managing to implement my learning. As in “Oh that is just a peach of a gem on how to deal with that S**t.” Bit off the wall, but it worked for me, I did learn lots of “peachy” things from her and a lot of what I was dealing with was a load of s**t.
So the idea with CBT is to challenge our learnt thought patterns, often our negative beliefs, and then offer new and more positive trains of thought as an alternative route. We did some work on this and I’m hoping to revisit the process again soon to complete the work I started. The bureaucracy of the NHS only allows each patient a set number of weeks to complete the work and then decrees a 3 months gap before you can pick up the treatment again. However, I would also like to add that I am very grateful that I am able to access such mental health support from the NHS in my area; I know it doesn’t seem to be something everyone has access to.
So alongside the CBT my lovely therapist offered my many pearls of wisdom, coping strategies and snippets of advice, all delivered in handouts, I have a file full, on how to get through life. One of my very favourite of these I’ve been using a lot recently and feel it real does help me to see a tough situation in a more rational light, as well as truly experience the best parts of my life. So I thought I’d share it with you.
So the advice is this:-
To accept, live in and feel the moment.
What this translates as is, whatever you are feeling at any given time, accept and experience it. Recognise that this is what you are feeling at that present moment and do what you need to do to either support, saviour or allow that.
By living in the moment, when you experience difficult or tough emotional times, you are not projecting your fears, worries and sadness into your future and therefore escalating the intensity of your emotions. I have been massively guilt of this, in the last year especially. An example would be if Stig starts to spiral into a massive violent and aggressive outburst my head is saying “great that’s the rest of the day/weekend written off or, dramatic pause……, the rest of my life”. Instead I should just focus on the present, accept that what is happening is emotionally very difficult for all of us, and do my very best to deal with the situation. Where I have managed to do this, I find the situation is resolved sooner and there is far less post situation fall out.
I also feel as if I give myself permission to be upset/angry by the present situation, because I’m acknowledging it is not an easy place to be. Allowing myself to feel that, means I don’t have guilt related thoughts later and it makes it easier to pass through and out of it. For example, I’m allowed to be angry or upset when my child tries to throw a chair at me and calls me “a f*****g b***h”. How I express these feelings and where is obviously important (usually a bit of a private cry once it’s all over), but I give myself permission for the feeling and by doing that it almost feels like I release it from myself. It doesn’t linger and create endless guilt.
On the flip side of this, grab hold of any feelings of happiness and joy and try and hold on to them for as long as possible. Experience, feel and live your contentment. I think it is too easy to let the really good bits of our lives pass us by without a nod of recognition and it is therefore easy to think that there are none. Again, I’ll put my hand up for this one, doom and gloom can be a girl’s best friend far too easily.
Recently when out on a run, the sun shining and good music pumping in my ears, I felt a real rush of happiness. It was an extraordinary moment of real pleasure and I took the time to acknowledge it. I lingered on how it actually felt within my body and the sensation inside my head. I believe by focusing on it and not allowing my mind to wonder to other thoughts for the day, I managed to intensify and prolong that feeling of joy. It’s almost like bottling it, even now when I think of that moment, I’m smiling. So the next time you receive a warm hug or your child makes you really laugh, recognise that sweet and pure happiness and accept it into your life, bottle it.
For me I know I’ve been on a “my life is really s**t” tip for quite a while, and yes as a family we have all been dealing with some extraordinarily difficult times. However, once you take the time to saviour those small moments of happiness, you realise that actually there are far more than you ever imagined. Even if it is a dark and macabre joke shared between parents of traumatised children, yes you know the ones I mean, if it made you smile or laugh, embrace it.
As with all these practices they’re hard to implement to start with but, the more you practice the more it becomes a natural part of your thought process. So I am trying very hard to keep myself in the moment which is small part of my bigger plan, to live 2014 with more confidence.
I think this process is part of what seems to be a very now way of thinking “Mindfulness”. I don’t know too much about it yet but I’m on the edge of becoming more involved, I can feel it. If you know more please share with me and let me know how it is helping you.
I’ve linked this post to The Adoption Social link up, The Things We Do