With the start of each new season I am reminded of how much I love the change in the weather. With summer now underway I am able to enjoy the cool early morning air and the sun peeping over the mountains. The trees in my yard are showing off their leaves providing shade meanwhile soaking up the delicious water to nourish their roots keeping them strong and grounded.
As a therapist, I like to focus on how I can help my clients “stay grounded” amidst a world of anxiety, stress, and endless “to-do” lists. Below are some techniques that can help establish resilient roots so when the winds blow we can remain strong and present.
Many of my clients struggle with anxiety. The reasons for anxiety numerous. There is anxiety for the future, relationships, work, school and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, anxiety not only affects our psychological state, but has physiological repercussions as well (it can have a dramatic impact on our body)! Luckily, yoga incorporates deep breathing and postures that can help lower heartrate and reduce blood pressure. This will allow you to achieve calmness in your body and clarity in your mind to better handle everyday problems. For some, the price for yoga can hinder consistent practice. Luckily, there is a less expensive alternative that I recommend if you can’t afford a pricey studio. The “Yogaglo” app is easily accessible and allows access to thousands of yoga classes for a minimal monthly fee.
A favorite art therapy exercise that I like to use involves creating a tree. Using any type of materials that are accessible to you such as construction paper, markers, glue, etc. can be used to create a tree that represents who you are. The one requirement is that your tree must have visible roots and leaves. After creating your tree, identify what your roots are. These are parts of yourself that “ground” you in life. For example your roots could be: core values, strong beliefs, parts of yourself that you like, people or things which you are grateful for. The point is to recognize what is truly important and sustains you in your life.
The second part of this exercise regards the leaves. The leaves represent changes that you want to make in your life. Similar to how the leaves change with the start of each new season, this gives you the chance to recognize what changes you want to make. After you are done writing on your tree you will take a moment and see if the tree resonates with you or if adjustments need to be made. This exercise can be a fun and different way to journal as you create different trees for the various seasons of your life.
For most people, it can be a challenge to live presently. We can get caught up in reevaluating our past or anticipating our future. Dealing with current life challenges can seem overwhelming creating feelings of anxiety. One method that can be helpful in working through those anxious feelings is called the “Bull’s Eye Technique.” Essentially you create three concentric circles. In the center (the bull’s eye) you identify tasks that you need to focus on in the very moment. Then you move outward to the next circle. Here you will write down short terms tasks within the next day or week. Lastly, in the biggest circle you will focus on the “big picture.” The “big picture” tasks or goals can be further in the future maybe a few months. The aim of this technique is to help break anything that creates anxiety into more manageable and focused steps. By doing so, you can dispel your anxiety and move forward without fear.
Although these three steps may not eliminate all the stresses that come into our lives they sure can make them more bearable. Just like the trees that encounter the different forces of Mother Nature, we too can be strong, rooted, grounded when life’s forces come towards us.
Participating in counseling proides you with opportunities to over come anxiety, accept change, embrace who you are, and heal from trama. The counselors at Sage Family Counseling want to help you and your family. Reach out to us for a consultation.
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