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Your Journey: The Way It’s Always Been

Your Journey: The Way It’s Always Been

We’re all the heroes of our own stories, but the heroes we admire in literature and on the screen find themselves undergoing spiritual and emotional transformations more often than they find themselves using the bathroom. If all of us are heroes, each going on a continuous, limitless, and recursive journey throughout the stages of our lives, then where are you in your journey? How does it relate to your current struggles? What lessons are here for you to learn?

Every journey has to start somewhere, so perhaps yours might start with a beginning.

This is the way it’s always been. Or at least it feels that way. Life is routine, and yours was set in stone a long time ago. You’ve worked hard, checked the boxes, weathered your storms, and now you’ve settled into the peaceful existence you thought you earned. You’re Cinderella scrubbing her stepsister’s linens after the untimely death of her father. Your life is stable, but it’s far from perfect.

When you try to be creative, you might find yourself taking comfort in cliche or falling upon old habits.

Sharing your life experiences with others is challenging because the monotony has left you with little to be excited about. From the comfort of your routine, you might find it hard to realize how others perceive you. When you dream about your future, you struggle to imagine any version of your life other than the one you’re currently living. Yours is a common existence, but not an easy one.

You probably feel proud, but overwhelmed. You’ve struggled throughout your life, and finding any sense of routine, peace, and conformity is refreshing, but life is still challenging. You’re able to mostly brush aside or push down any nagging thoughts or complaints you might have with this attitude of pride. But no matter how good you get at suppressing doubt, you find yourself making the same mistakes and coming to the same crossroads over and over again. But the journey you’re going on isn’t one with a fixed beginning and end, it’s one that you’ll be on for the rest of your life, revisiting certain stops as necessary. It is your doubt that could be your teacher, and it is your doubt that will guide you to your next step.

To escape the doldrums of your homely routine, you’ll need to follow your instincts.

You will be thoughtful enough to notice the symptoms and behaviors that cast shadows upon your comfortable life. You will be brave enough to admit to their presence and discover the extent to which they have wounded you. You will be kind enough to yourself to see your world for how it is. It took a few years, but Cinderella inevitably realized that she didn’t want to stay in her stepmother’s home for the rest of her life.

With where you are now, a hero in the ordinary world living their life in a peaceful emptiness, you might feel fatigued, overwhelmed, or afraid of the journey ahead. It can be helpful if you are navigating this step in your journey to keep a daily journal and see how it feels to read about your life on paper. You might feel frustrated because you feel that you shouldn’t have to work on this step, but each step along our journey has an important lesson to teach us, and an indelible mark to leave on us.

Think of going along your path of growth like you are your own canvas to paint upon, and each lesson you learn along the way is a new color leaving its hallmark on you. Helming your way through the way it’s always been might leave you feeling blue, and hearing the whisper in the next step might make you feel yellow, but the blue would still be in place on the canvas, blending with the yellow to make a beautiful shade of green.

To awaken your sense of awareness, you can also reach out within your communities.

This can be done by performing acts of community service or becoming involved in a local group that shares your passions. If we are stuck in our routines and trapped within a cycle of self-involvement, the greatest panacea to our illness is becoming the empathetic audience of another person’s voice. If we cannot see through the haze of the way it’s always been through our own eyes, then perhaps we need to borrow the eyes of another. It’s for this same reason that seeking out a therapy session can often be the most productive actionable step available to you.

If you find yourself relating or struggling with the feelings common to this stage, you can ask your therapist to focus on mindfulness, empathetic/active listening, or narrative therapy. Mindfulness is all about existing in the present moment, noticing your environment, and accepting the world around you, which is absolutely invaluable in every step of your journey, but especially when you’re attempting to pierce the veil of your stable and ordinary routine.

Empathetic listening is an act of radical self-awareness, where you pay attention to another person intently with compassion, emotional identification and insight. Basically, it involves hearing another’s words, and imagining what the world might look like through their eyes. Finally, narrative therapy is a method of therapeutic treatment that involves removing the patient (potentially you) from the emotional first-person world we spend our lives in, and analyzing the third-person narrative we create in our minds.

There are plenty of mindfulness activities that can help you when you feel disoriented and uncomfortable.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

-Take a mindful walk. Notice the colors, the animals, and the textures that you see, the different smells that waft under your nose, the sound of your feet on the pavement, the rustle of the leaves and the birds chirping, and the feel of a tree, grass, or water on your skin.

-Go swimming. Swimming can reset your nervous system and relax your body. There is also little room for distraction when you’re in a pool or the ocean, making it easier to melt into the present moment.

-Wash your hands. This may seem insignificant, but it can be turned into quite the mindful activity if you don’t have time for a walk or a swim or aren’t feeling particularly energetic. Notice the warm water running through your hands. Smell the soap and feel it’s texture on your skin. Listen to the sound of the water running and your hands rubbing together.

The journey is long. So long that you’ll be travelling along its path for the rest of your life, maybe more than once. The pace can be grueling, because we don’t choose when we need to grow, only if. The rewards are countless, endless, ceaseless, and priceless.

If you happen to be searching for a therapist to offer guidance in this journey to fulfillment, we have an excellent team of therapists who would love to help you. Our therapists specialize in art therapy and yoga-informed therapy. Other mental health services Integrative Counsel provides are anxiety relief, improving codependency and boundaries, accessing your body informed wisdom, increasing mindfulness and awareness, depression treatment, and beating burnout.

 

Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.

Art Therapy Activities for August

Art Therapy Activities for August

Art therapy has the power to relax both your mind and body, putting you in a meditative state and allowing you to safely explore your own mind. Because making art makes you feel safe and calm, you are able to go deeper with yourself in the healing process. Many of us frequently put off doing deep inner work because we are scared of facing ourselves. Art therapy helps us integrate both the left and right sides of the brain and helps us calmly access the subconscious mind, making it easier for us to examine our trauma and release what holds us back. Here are a few art therapy activities that will help you get started on your journey:

Meditative painting

meditative painting for art therapy

Pick colors that make you feel positive and paint using repetitive motions, covering the entire paper with these strokes. Then, use a different color and pattern to paint over the first layer. What makes this technique meditative is the repetitive movement and the layering because you are able to intuitively and spontaneously create whatever you feel in that moment. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters that you are able to find peace in the moment, noticing the feeling of the brush strokes on paper, the smell of the paint, and envisioning the bright, beautiful colors and patterns.

Finger painting art therapy

Why did we ever stop finger painting?. t’s so easy to connect with your creative inner child when you playfully dip your finger in paint and allow yourself to revel in the sensation of gliding the paint on paper, moving it wherever it wants to go, no expectations, no purpose, just to play and explore. With finger painting, it’s not about the finished piece, it’s about the creative process. It’s about the calming colors you choose and the textures you feel in the moment. Be intuitive with this and see how it feels to use one finger or multiple fingers in your painting process. Just like rhythmic breathing helps you relax while meditating, using repetitive motion to match your heartbeat will put you in a zen state of mind

Art therapy with clay

When we are anxious or stressed, it helps to be able to manipulate materials with your hands. You can use clay or playdough and create your own mini sculptures. Keeping the hands busy and the mind focused on creating a sculpture helps your brain relax. You can even make your own playdough and clay as part of the creative process. Mix together 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of salt, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan on medium heat until it thickens. Then, store it in an airtight container, and voila, you have actual playdough! The full recipe is here. Creating the playdough and then making a sculpture out of it will give you a sense of mastery, which is important when taking care of yourself and healing your mind.

Create a Fragments Box

Gretchen Miller, MA, ATR-BC came up with this idea, and it’s a fantastic way for you to get a better understanding of who you are, who you want to be, and find that sense of wholeness and authenticity. She painted a box to represent herself, which holds all of her fragments. These fragments are little tiles that have been embellished with paper. On these tiles, she writes what the different pieces of her are, such as “Strength”, “Calmness,” “Insight”, etc. This is helpful in healing yourself because it allows you to find your authentic self and who you know you can be. “Developing and containing these fragments through this process reminded me (again) of my core intentions, purpose, and helped “untangle” most of the “thought knots”, as well as put back and contain all the little pieces of me that were scattered everywhere and ought to be paid attention to for continued creativity, energy, and collaboration.”

Read last week’s article, “How to Stop Negative Thinking” here!

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

How To Stop Negative Thinking

How To Stop Negative Thinking

When you have been in a negative frame of mind for so long, it can be incredibly hard to shift your perspective and start thinking more positively. When you have external factors that are negatively affecting your life, it can be even harder to maintain a positive outlook. Fear and sadness easily slip in and rule your life. You can start to take small steps to eliminate negative thinking in your life. Here is how to maintain a more positive outlook:

 

 Live in the moment

When you’re in the present moment, you’re not worrying about what will happen in the future, and you’re not ruminating about things that happened in the past. You are simply being present and accepting life as it reveals itself to you.

 

Repeat positive affirmations

Repeating positive statements to yourself can help challenge and overcome negative thinking. When the affirmations are repeated over and over again, they can slowly start to change the pattern of your thinking. Here are some positive affirmations to start with:

-“I am in charge of how I feel today and I am choosing happiness.”

-“I am enough.”

-“I am whole.”

-“Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.”

-“I feel safe in the rhythm and flow of ever-changing life.”

 

Believe in your power of thinking

If you believe that negative things will happen, then you will create negative situations in your life. You don’t need to be fake positive or wear a mask pretending like everything is okay when you feel anxious or depressed. You don’t need to stay in the emotion mind, which is the part of your brain that is very reactive and uses emotions to make decisions. Being in this part of your brain can cause you to act impulsively, with little regard for consequences. The rational mind is judgemental,  focused on the facts,and approaches things very intellectually. You might be too hot or too cold, which can make it difficult to think positively, because we are either not in touch with our emotions, or overly involved in them. We want to get into the wise mind when we are thinking negatively. Wise mind allows us to access our emotions, which are very valuable, and also use our rational mind to problem solve and find solutions.

 

Don’t ruminate

Notice when your negative thoughts are running on a loop. When you have that awareness, you can start to take small action steps. Set a time limit for how long you are going to spend ruminating, and release your thoughts into your journal. Once that time limit is up, move on from those thoughts. You can call a friend, identify actionable solutions, or distract yourself from those unhealthy thoughts by reading a book, watching a comforting movie, playing a game, or working on an art project.

 

Face your fears

You must face your fears, otherwise, they will continue to hold you back. Acknowledge when you feel fear, anxiety, and worry. Once you have awareness over and understanding of your fears, you can start to work towards overcoming them.

 

Shift your perspective

Stop thinking in terms of how things “should” be. This causes unnecessary suffering in our lives. It also helps to think of the bigger picture. How do your negative thoughts hold up in the real world? Widen your lense, and lift yourself up above the maze to see the bigger picture.

Click here to read about how to change your thoughts to stop procrastination. 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

Music, Mindfulness, Melancholy, and You

Music, Mindfulness, Melancholy, and You

Do you want to be a musician? Are you envious of the lucky impervious few who find themselves seated behind a choice instrument and express themselves beauty? Do you find your mind plagued by crippling self-doubt in the face of attempting to learn? Do you struggle to muster hope in a future where you develop proficiency and mastery in something you care about?

Depression can be an all-enveloping scourge upon creativity, personal hygiene, and life itself. While in the throes of a severe depressive episode, even the simplest of daily activities can fall to the wayside and feel completely out of reach. So if you are suffering under the indignities of depression, one might find it unrealistic when I recommend utilizing the power of musical expression to motivate and guide one’s recovery, but if you are passionate about music (as a listener or a performer), I ask that you keep an open mind. 

Music fosters mindfulness.

music mindfulness

Music has a spectacular effect in fostering mindfulness in its performer. Just as drawing is the decoration of a page or canvas, and just as writing is the decoration of the mind’s eye, music is the decoration of time itself. In my experience, nothing has been a more powerful reminder of one’s existence in the present moment than striving to make the present moment more beautiful. Setting aside even just five minutes each day to practice whatever instrument calls out to your inner sense of value (whether that’s voice, piano, or kazoo) can be a powerful and meaningful addition to the routine of anyone suffering from a dissociative mental illness such as anxiety or depression. Even if committing to just this bare minimum of five minutes each day, after a year, you’d have over thirty hours of musical experience, and as a result you’d be undergoing a far more meaningful transformation.

Music encourages pride and mastery.

Even more powerful than the effect of performing music on promoting a peaceful mental state is music’s ability to encourage pride and mastery in the one performing it. When coping with the debilitating self-doubt of depression, nothing can prove one’s intrusive thoughts wrong quite like the pursuance of a long-held passion. As human beings, all of us find comfort and meaning from the music we listen to in one way or another. We put on a pedestal the few of us who choose to dedicate themselves to the craft of music. So what if, in our own way, we put ourselves on such a pedestal by dedicating a piece of ourselves to showcasing the beauty of our own interior? You may not end up on the cover of Rolling Stone, but you might make a loved one cry happy tears to see the side of you that they always knew laid within you, or inspire a treasured friend to pick up the craft themselves and share their interior beauty with you in kind. 

Music encourages natural healing.

music mindfulness

Not only does performing music promote peace and pride, but it also encourages natural healing by facilitating shifts in our brain waves. With a stable, rhythmic frequency, our brainwaves can go from beta (waking consciousness) to alpha (relaxed consciousness) to theta (a meditative state) and sometimes even delta (sleep). When our bodies feel off-balance  and out of tune, music can bring us back to center. Listening to music and performing it are both equally as healing. These frequencies can help you heal your anxiety and depression: 853hz, 639hz, 396hz, and 528hz.   

I didn’t always identify as a musician. Few of us are born with an innate mastery of anything, much less something as complex and beautiful as performing music. But music called out to me nonetheless, even in the deepest darkness of my loudest depression. I started learning eight years ago, and I still learn something each time I raise my voice in song, pick up an instrument, or teach a new student the latent song that waits within them. There is an intense and visceral reaction to seeing yourself grow to be the type of person you want to be. So I ask you again: 

Do you want to be a musician?

 

 *Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.

Numbing Emotions? Here’s What To Do Instead

Numbing Emotions? Here’s What To Do Instead

Are you numbing your emotions instead of feeling them? Do you take the time to sit with yourself in stillness and tune in to your inner awareness? 

The biggest block to hearing your “wise mind”, or inner wisdom, is the fear that you will feel something uncomfortable. Instead of fixing whatever is off-balance and causing you to feel bad, you shove it down or distract yourself, causing that same feeling to come up again and again with greater intensity. In order to truly heal yourself, you must feel all of your feelings, letting all those emotions you’ve been avoiding and putting on ice to melt so that you can resolve and release. Here is what you can do instead of numbing out:

 

Light a candle and sit quietly with yourself

Take the time to really go within and sit with whatever emotions come up. Validate these emotions. “It is okay that I am feeling sad right now.” Don’t force them to leave just because they are uncomfortable, and don’t shame yourself for feeling the way that you do. Once you are brave enough to sit with yourself and look within and feel what you have been avoiding, you will discover that the emotions you were so afraid of are actually a wise teacher. Beneath the layers and layers of fear and discomfort is your inner awareness, which will know exactly how to resolve and release whatever you are struggling with.

 

Identify your feelings

Whenever you are experiencing a negative emotion, it helps to put a name to what you are feeling. Start by tuning in to the body–what is going on in the heart? The gut? The throat? Do they feel tight? What triggered the emotion, and how would you describe it? Sometimes, our emotions are layered. For example, you might be feeling anger, but once you sit with it, you realize that you are really just feeling scared. Whatever you do, make sure you approach this process with curiosity and wonder rather than judgment. This wheel of emotions is a great tool to help you identify emotions whenever you get stuck:

 

numbing emotions

 

Question your feelings

In a non-judgmental, compassionate way, ask your feelings what messages they have for you at this time. Remember that feelings are not fact and that sometimes, the message is to simply feel that feeling until it goes away. Other times, that feeling wants you to take action. Tuning into your emotions will help you realize what it is that you need at that moment and encourages you to act on your realizations. Instead of acting impulsively on the feeling, you’re taking the time to pull back the layers, discover what the feelings are telling you, and then taking the necessary steps to meet your own needs.

 

Mindfully express your emotions

Once you have unpacked your feelings, you now need to release them by expressing them in some way. For some people, this looks like crying and writing about it in their journal. For others, it can look like a painting, dancing to your favorite song, or even cleaning. Any form of physical activity can help you release the build-up of energy that comes from your emotions. You can also repeat these affirmations to yourself to help you feel your feelings:

  • “I’m not okay right now, and that’s okay. There’s still light here. I can grow through this. I can choose another thought that feels a little better. I won’t always feel this way.”
  • “I don’t need to change right away. I don’t need to feel better right away. I just need to listen. I trust this feeling will move through me in its own time. I trust myself to hear what it has to say. I trust myself to learn what I need to learn from it.”
  • “The greatest gift I can give and receive is the awareness of what I need right now. The inner work that I do directly benefits the people around me, too.”
  • “I am not defined by what I feel. This experience doesn’t control me. This feeling doesn’t have to determine my whole day.”

You will feel so relieved once you have released what you have been suppressing.

Accept where you’re at

Our intense emotions strengthen when we try to shove them down rather than accepting them. If you want to be free from the feelings that weigh you down, you must accept them. Holding on to certain events and asking “why” they happened keeps you trapped in your emotion because you are refusing to face it. Release the hold your expectations have over you and accept reality as it is.

 *Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

 

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

More Than Talking: Actions You Can Take In Therapy

More Than Talking: Actions You Can Take In Therapy

Therapy with Integrative Counsel is more than talking. It’s about taking action to better your mental health. For some people, there comes a point in their healing journey where talking doesn’t get them anywhere. Maybe you’ve already dove into your past traumas and relationships, are all talked out, and are craving more. That’s normal! Here are some actions that you can take in therapy:

Action 1: Art Therapy

Art therapy is a great alternative to talk therapy. When you are making art, your brain goes into a relaxed, meditative state, making it easier to get in touch with your intuition and your subconscious mind. The left and the right brain are able to communicate with each other and make connections they otherwise wouldn’t have if you just talked about it.

Additionally, making art helps you step out of thinking mode and into feeling mode. To learn more about how art therapy helps your brain, click here. Because your mind is relaxed and the reward centers are being activated, you feel safe enough to process your emotions and access the wise mind, which is a DBT term that refers to a mixture of the emotional mind and the rational mind. You must draw on both sides of your mind to access the wise mind because both play an important role.

Action 2: EMDR

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a form of therapy that helps people connect with and heal their trauma. Because the brain is actually trying to protect you from these heavy, traumatic memories, it has formed a block around them. This makes it difficult for you to process and heal from your trauma because it’s just being shoved back without you even realizing it. Without treating the mental wound, it just festers and causes suffering. EMDR helps safely bring these difficult memories and feelings to the surface and allows people to safely work through their trauma so that it doesn’t hurt them anymore. Unlike talk therapy, all of the insights that patients gain from EMDR come from within them, which is incredibly empowering.

Action 3: Active Imagination

Active Imagination is a technique that was developed by Carl Jung and it helps bridge the gap between the conscious and the unconscious mind. The most popular and effective way to do this is through dream work. Our dreams are our unconscious mind’s way of communicating with us. Being able to interpret these dreams and figure out what associations the unconscious mind has with different images helps us learn more about ourselves and figure out what exactly our dreams are trying to tell us about ourselves. A great way to start dreamwork is to read Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth by Robert A Johnson. In the first part, he mentions that you should take each separate image of their dream, and list all the associations you have with that image. In doing that, you are allowing the unconscious mind to speak, and are decoding the language it uses to communicate with you.

If you would like to start Art Therapy, EMDR, or Active Imagination, our clinicians can help you! Click here to schedule a consultation.

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

Get In Touch With The Moon

Get In Touch With The Moon

Do you ever feel more emotional as it gets closer and closer to a full moon? The energy of the moon impacts the mind and the body. Not only are we affected by the moon because our bodies are made up of 70% water, but our mood is impacted by the moon based on whatever constellation it lives in at that time. Every two and a half days, the moon moves into another constellation, changing the overall mood people are in. At the moment, the moon is in Scorpius, which is also known as the astrological sign, Scorpio. Scorpio is known for being deep, intensely emotional, and intimate. Our minds are deeply impacted by this transition, and you might feel more intense and emotional than usual. It’s best to work with this energy rather than against it. Here are some ways you can get in touch with the moon and harness your full potential:

Do yoga

Under a full moon, it’s best to release what no longer serves you in order to invite expansion into your life. It becomes difficult to invite this expansion in when our minds block the flow of positive energy. Doing yoga helps you get out of your head and into your body, helping you open yourself up to whatever the world has to offer you. Here is a video that can help you with your moon salutation.

Release what’s holding you back

Our brains hold onto our fears and the stories and patterns that keep us bound up. The moon’s energy is incredibly powerful, and can be used to help you release whatever is keeping you stuck. You can harness the moon’s energy by planning to do a release ceremony with yourself. Get a piece of paper, write down what you would like to release, and burn it with the intention of leaving it all behind. Burning is a great way to release stuck energy. Scientifically speaking, when two atoms come together they release energy in the form in heat and light. The physical act of burning the behaviors and situations we want to leave behind helps us release that energy from our mind and body and allow us to start fresh.

Manifest positivity into your life

The moon’s energy is not just good for releasing, it’s also good for creating good in your life. Your brain is very powerful, and the more you let negativity rule your mind, the more negativity you will see around you. You can instead replace this negativity with positivity and manifest wonderful things in your life. During the full moon, you can do a manifestation ceremony after your release ceremony. Do this by writing down what you would like to manifest in your life. For example, you can write in detail what you want your dream house to look like, or your dream job. Or, you can manifest spiritual healing and growth. Whatever you are called to bring more of into your life, write it down! Your brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what isn’t, and it’s much better for your brain to focus on cultivating magical things.

Connect with nature

Because the moon is so full and bright, you’ll want to get outside and connect with it. Spending time outdoors will help you feel more connected to your mind and body. You will feel more grounded and less like you are submerged in the intense emotions that are bound to be swirling around your head. When you sit in nature, it allows you to feel more present and one with the earth, and it serves as a reminder that the beauty we see around us is a part of us. The same can be said for the moon, which helps us release the emotions that have been bubbling to the surface all month so that we can start again with a fresh outlook.

Last week, we discussed how to tell your intuition from anxiety. Click here to read it.

 

 *Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

How To Tell Intuition From Anxiety

How To Tell Intuition From Anxiety

Does your anxiety make gaining access to your intuition challenging? This is a common issue you might be experiencing during your spiritual awakening, where you want to trust yourself and listen to your gut, but get thrown off by your fears. These fears can overwhelm you and trick you by wearing your intuition as a mask. Let this concept be a relief to you–your anxiety is not your intuition! Here are some tips on how to tell your intuition from your anxiety:

Get in touch with your emotions and your body

How do you feel? What is your gut telling you? Get to know yourself. When your intuition is speaking to you, it is a calm voice from within. Anxiety evolves from a place of fear and is usually a reaction to a threat. Your anxiety is trying to protect you from harm. Intuition doesn’t come from a place of fear–it just comes to you, seemingly out of nowhere. It is a message from your higher self, who isn’t trying to scare you but inform you. It is clear, and it is accompanied by feelings of relaxation, inner knowing, and reason. Anxiety does not have reason and is usually irrational.

Noticing how your body feels when you’re anxious will help you determine whether or not it’s your intuition or your anxiety speaking to you. When you are experiencing anxiety, you start to sweat, your heart rate goes up, you lose your appetite, and you might feel a little shaky. Additionally, if it is anxiety, you might feel like you want to hide in bed under the covers all day. With your intuition, however, you’ll feel more confident in yourself and your ability to face whatever it is that you need to face because you will just know, and you will fully trust yourself.

Learn to reduce your anxiety

If your anxiety is overwhelming you to the point that you are unable to listen to your intuition, here are some ways you can treat your anxiety so you can fully access your higher wisdom:

  • Put your hand on your heart and give yourself positive self-talk
  • Challenge your negative thoughts and replace them with happier ones
  • Bring your fears to light so that you can accept them and reduce their intensity

 

Train your mind to listen to a different narrative

We have trouble listening to our intuition when we are operating on a false narrative. Sometimes the stories that we tell ourselves aren’t true but have been embedded in our psyche because of events that have happened to us throughout our lives. These events and experiences have caused us to look at the world through the lens of this story, which might not even be true. This makes it difficult to listen to our intuition.

To combat this, whenever you are feeling anxious and having trouble listening to your intuition because of that anxiety, get out a pen and a piece of paper and write an alternate story to the one that you are telling yourself. Write as many different possibilities as you can think of. Make sure you state the facts. Your brain has a tendency to cling to shreds of information that aren’t true but add to the narrative, so make sure you are very straightforward and factual with yourself when dealing with your anxiety. This will help you start to discern whether it’s your anxiety or intuition talking.

In our article last week, guest writer Sunny Ebsary tells us his experience with art therapy and how important it was in his healing process. Click here to read it!

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.

Is Art Therapy Right For Me? (From Someone Who’s Tried It!)

Is Art Therapy Right For Me? (From Someone Who’s Tried It!)

“And when there is something so mindful and free about committing your emotions and imagination to imagery, how could I not continue?”

My first experience with art therapy happened when I was eighteen years old. I have always had a desire to express myself through art, but my method of choice had been writing and music. And even though I enjoyed drawing and painting in my childhood, as I grew older and more insecure, I could never bring myself to make visual art because it could never be good enough.

But at eighteen years old, having reached a new bottom in my mental health, I became involved in a therapy group of other mentally ill young people organized by a therapist. I was desperate, I was willing to listen to anybody, and when they invited me to pick up some arts and crafts, I asked for the glue stick.

Despite my insecurity, and in defiance of my low self-worth, I discovered that my problems had never been because I was uniquely unskilled or broken. Through the lens of art, both mine and that of my fellow co-patients, I was able to connect with others who shared in my struggles in ways that just hearing their words might never have done.

My art was not worse or better than that of the people sitting next to me. None of us had experience or skill, but from the very beginning, all of us were able to express things to the others and to ourselves that we might never have been brave enough to say out loud. We were not untalented, or unworthy of the boundless self-expression that art can offer, we were just out of practice.

Even after my therapy group disbanded as we all left for college or work, I found myself drawn to the visual arts in a way that I wasn’t brave enough to do prior to my experiences. I still had anxieties when I pick up a paintbrush or a glue stick that it somehow won’t be good enough, but art therapy gave me the opportunity to start practicing. And when there is something so mindful and free about committing your emotions and imagination to imagery, how could I not continue?

If you are passionate about art in any of its forms, and you are considering undergoing art therapy, I could not give any higher recommendation. You will have the opportunity to learn that you have more to offer and say than you could have ever anticipated.

 

Be sure to read our previous article here.

 *Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Sunny Ebsary is a writer and singer-songwriter from Tampa, FL. When he’s not sing-songwriting or just regular writing, he’s probably drinking water with a lot of ice, having a staring contest with his cat, or giving people great ideas. You can listen to Sunny’s music here.

It’s Time To Bloom

It’s Time To Bloom

Spring is here and the flowers are in bloom all around us. It’s not just the flowers that going in bloom, however. Humans do it, too. We are ever-evolving creatures, and it’s time we stop being afraid to bloom into our highest selves. What does your growth mean to you? Are you so afraid of change that you stay stuck and stagnant? It’s time to let go of the old patterns, beliefs, and behaviors that hold you back. Here are 5 ways you can blossom into your highest self:

Love the person that you are in this moment

If you don’t love and approve of yourself as you are, you will never grow. We are never quite where we want to be, and that is okay. That is the process of life–if we were exactly where we wanted to be right now, what would we do with ourselves? It would be quite boring, wouldn’t it? Eventually, we would outgrow where we want to be, and move on to something else that sparks our attention, never feeling happy or fulfilled. There would be no flavor, and no will to step outside your comfort zone and live life with zest. Loving yourself as you are, in spite of your flaws, will help you bloom into the person you want to be. We all have light and dark within us that need to be balanced. That is why we are on earth having this human experience. Love and acceptance of yourself will help you grow into your authentic self.

Embrace life’s challenges

As much as we would love for things to be fine and dandy all the time, life doesn’t work that way. There will always be things that happen that we don’t like. We won’t always feel our best. Eventually in life, if we haven’t experienced it already, someone will break our heart, and we will experience grief in some form. These challenges, though uncomfortable and painful, help us become stronger people. As above, so below. There are always going to be darker days before there are brighter ones. Whenever you are experiencing dark times, you can be comforted by the fact that amazing things will follow that. When we embrace life’s challenges, we build up our strength and can handle whatever life throws at us. Sometimes, the universe puts pressure on us in order to help us create beautiful things in our lives. Consider how your current challenges are making you a better person.

Celebrate the small things

Often, we make ourselves miserable because we think of all the big ways that our life isn’t working out for us. However, there are various small ways that we can appreciate life. Sometimes, all it takes is stepping outside and appreciating the fresh air, or seeing someone perform a random act of kindness on another. Maybe you really don’t feel like cooking dinner for yourself one night, but you give yourself a nudge and do it anyway. That is a small but meaningful action that you can celebrate. Keep a list throughout the day of all your wins, big and small, and it will help you appreciate yourself and your life. Life isn’t about the big wins–those are important, but the small wins build us up for the big ones.

Stop playing the victim

When life isn’t going the way we want it to, it’s easy to give up and ask “Why me? Why is this happening to me? Why can’t my life be better? Why is everyone out to get me?” Instead of asking yourself “why”, ask yourself “How can I use this experience to learn and grow?” “How can I make today better?” “What can I do to make myself and the people I care about happy?” Pulling yourself out of the vicious cycle of the victim mindset will help you soar into the best version of yourself because your mind naturally starts to operate on a more positive brainwave rather than sinking into the depths of negativity.

Be flexible

It is impossible to bloom and grow if you stay rigid. Being flexible is important. Life throws a lot of unexpected twists your way, and it is impossible to control what will happen next. If you approach every day with a flexible mindset, you will be less attached to the outcome. When you have too many rigid attachments, you set yourself up for failure. Let go of the rigidity and to the idea that you must control everything around you. Picture yourself as a leaf floating along the river, unbothered by where the currents take you, just happy to have the experience.

 

Don’t miss last week’s article where we discover how art therapy soothes the brain!

 

*Sign Up for our free 9 Essential Ingredients To Court Your Creativity PDF. Learn nine crucial skills you can implement RIGHT NOW to increase your creativity by stepping back into your right brain! Click here to sign up.

Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.