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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.

3 Big Ways Art Therapy Helps Your Brain

3 Big Ways Art Therapy Helps Your Brain

Has your brain ever called out because it needs more creativity? You just feel unexplainably drawn towards your paints and pastels? This is because your brain actually needs art. Art therapy has the ability to soothe and support your brain. Here are three ways art therapy can help your brain:

It activates your brain’s reward center

When you make art, it activates the reward center of your brain. Creating makes you feel accomplished and productive, which increases serotonin in your brain. Whenever you are making art, it increases blood flow towards the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area of the brain is responsible for regulating our thoughts, feelings, and also regulates our motivational capacity. Once you have a visual representation of what you have created, the blood flows to the reward center, making you feel closer to your life purpose.

It helps you create deep focus

When you are making art, you get so into the zone that you lose awareness of what is happening around you. This is because making art increases your theta brain wave activity, which is the brain wave state you enter when you are meditating. Making art basically puts you in an altered state of consciousness because of this. In our day-to-day, we normally operate in beta waves. The beta wave state is where we are able to make decisions and think. When we make art, however, we switch into the theta brain wave, where we are able to be creative and heal. This is because the art-making process helps humans react.

As you paint or draw, you’ll notice that your heart rate naturally starts to slow down, your senses become more alive, and you can get in touch with your intuition. Getting in touch with your intuition is different than thinking. When we are just in thinking mode, the way we are in the beta state, we aren’t really healing, and we can get stuck in negative thinking patterns. In art therapy, we are able to get our brains into a state where we are able to fully access the wise mind and start the healing process. The theta state is where our subconscious lives, so being able to access this in therapy is incredibly potent. You are able to remember and work through trauma in a space that makes it safe and comfortable for you to express yourself.

Art therapy works with neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to create new pathways. This means that with practice, we can change our brain, creating more positive thinking, which results in more positive behavior and relationships with others. When making art, we are creating new pathways. Making art is predictable because it is so repetitive. When you engage in an activity like embroidery, the motion of the stitching is repetitive, which lowers your stress and soothes your brain. Because your brain is relaxed and your amygdala isn’t activated, you can create new neural pathways. The more we do it and the more we practice, the more malleable our brains become. The more malleable our brains become, the easier it is to change our unhealthy patterns and behaviors and become better.

Our practitioners, Laura and Vivi, are both art therapists who can help you get in touch with your full potential. If you think that art therapy sounds like a good fit for you, you can schedule a consultation with them 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.

Change Your Thoughts: Stop Second Guessing

Change Your Thoughts: Stop Second Guessing

Our thoughts are more powerful than we think. If you constantly have negative thoughts swirling around and you don’t catch them, they can start to manifest in unfavorable ways. An issue that clients often run into is that they second guess themselves and don’t have a solid foundation to stand on because they don’t trust themselves. If you have parents who criticize you, are a perfectionist, have low self-esteem, or have chronic, pessimistic thinking, it’s easier to be doubtful of yourself. Here are five tips on how to stop second-guessing yourself:

Trust yourself

Learning how to trust yourself is the biggest step to ending your self-doubt. Trusting yourself is easier said than done, and it is a process. It takes practice to learn to listen to your gut, but if you put the work in, it will become easier and easier. A way that you can build your self-trust is to zoom out and look at yourself as a whole person. When making decisions, draw on your abilities or your past experiences in order to check in with yourself and make smart choices. You could make a courage journal, where you will record all the ways you acted courageously so that you can look back on it and remind yourself how strong you are. When you can look back and see what you have accomplished, it makes it easier to stop second guessing yourself.

Become more aware of your thoughts and feelings

Awareness is half of the solution. Once you are aware of your negative thoughts, you can intervene with a positive thought. Sometimes, our minds are resistant to these positive thoughts and they don’t want to believe them. It can be a struggle to stop second guessing yourself. For example, if you’re anxious about something out of your control, your brain might not be able to relax if you just repeat “I will be okay” over and over again. It might be better to say “I choose to relax”, “I choose to be happy,” or “I choose to create a positive outcome.” That way, it becomes a choice rather than something you should do.

Find comfort in making mistakes

This is something that you might have heard so many times that it has lost its meaning, but it is true when they say that everyone makes mistakes. We wouldn’t be having this human experience if we didn’t make mistakes, and not being able to make a decision because you are afraid of making a mistake keeps you stuck and stagnant. It is better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all. Failing doesn’t feel amazing, but life isn’t meant to be easy or feel amazing all the time. When you fail, you have the ability to learn from your mistakes and to continue to push forward.

Fall in love with learning

We often second guess ourselves because we expect to be perfect and to know everything all the time. We are human and we are always evolving and leveling up. If we knew everything, we would stay at the same level our entire life, which isn’t the point of having this human experience. Falling in love with learning will help with your self-doubt because instead of expecting perfection from yourself, you start to see the beauty of learning new things about yourself.

Become familiar with the unknown

“If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it becomes fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it becomes aliveness, alertness, and creativity.”(Eckhart Tolle) When we fail to embrace uncertainty, we become so filled with fear that we fail to listen to ourselves. Decision-making starts to feel impossible because we are so scared that if we make the wrong decision, something bad will happen to us. If we embrace the unknown and approach it with curiosity and the love of learning, not only do we start to embrace life, but we are then able to make decisions from a place of strength rather than fear.

*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.

EMDR and Anxiety: Find Relief

EMDR and Anxiety: Find Relief

Do you have trauma that you just can’t seem to shake out of your life, no matter how much you journal about it or talk about it in therapy? EMDR is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and it is a wonderful tool for those who have anxiety, PTSD, OCD, depression, etc. Whenever we go through a traumatic experience, our brains have trouble storing the memory because of emotions like shame, guilt, and fear.

As a result, it can impact your daily life, and cause you to be triggered by something like a sound, smell, thought, image, etc. In EMDR therapy, a trained therapist will direct your eye movements as you relive triggering experiences in small doses. This is like soaking a pan, letting all the gunk and trauma float to the surface so that you can face it and work through it with the help and guidance of your therapist. The question is, how does EMDR help your anxiety?

EMDR causes less emotional reactivity in daily life

Often, when we are holding onto pain that we haven’t worked through, we are more likely to be emotionally reactive. You might find yourself being overwhelmed by intense sadness, anger, or fear. EMDR helps you react less to your anxiety because you are given the opportunity to safely face your emotions and the events that triggered it. You will find that you are able to take a much calmer approach to situations that trigger your anxiety rather than slipping into a panic attack or blowing up at your loved ones.

It helps you sleep better

Have you ever tossed and turned all night, not able to sleep because of obsessive thoughts or traumatic flashbacks? You are not alone. Sometimes, when we are in “go, go, go” mode all day, we don’t have any time to sit with our negative emotions and sift through them. EMDR gives you the time to sit in the mud with your negative thoughts and emotions so that you can get unstuck and find resolutions. This eliminates tossing and turning, which is just your brain’s way of saying “Don’t go to sleep! We need attention!”

It increases a more positive outlook

With your mind no longer being bogged down by trauma, you are free to explore the world with a more positive frame of mind. It is difficult to be present when we are dealing with negativity. EMDR helps you feel like a weight has been lifted off your chest, because you gain access to the part of your brain that has been closed off to you for so long. The brain has closed the gates to your trauma to protect you from harm, but if left unchecked and undealt with, it will start to spill over into other areas of your life. These can be your relationships, work, etc. With the help of your therapist, you can face your trauma and go through life with a more pleasant outlook. You will also feel more mindful and at peace.

It helps you feel more relaxed generally and physically

EMDR is similar to hypnosis because it puts you into a relaxed state in order to help you access certain memories or feelings. The relaxed state helps people reimagine anxiety-inducing scenarios and then helps them find ways to resolve them and have control over their anxiety.

EMDR helps you process emotions internally

EMDR is good for people who have trouble processing their traumatic experiences through talk therapy. Sometimes, the pain is too much to talk about, or their brain is protecting them and causing them to not have a clear recollection of what happened. EMDR is more of an internal process that is guided by a trained therapist, making it easier for those who have trouble processing or getting in touch with their emotions verbally.

If you are interested in starting EMDR therapy, our clinician, Laura Hensley offers a blend of EMDR and expressive arts therapy. Laura wants you to know that EMDR is a mind-body healing process, and you will maintain control over how quickly you move through the process itself. You can always take breaks when you need to, and with your therapist, you will work on building a sense of safety and support into and around the series of sessions. EMDR will likely lead to a significant experience of healing and transformation.

*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.

Here’s Why Our Therapists Love Their Job

Here’s Why Our Therapists Love Their Job

Have you ever wondered how much your therapist really loves their job? Those who have attended therapy before have perhaps wondered at least once or twice “Does my therapist hate me? What do they really think of me and their job? Does the emotionality get exhausting?” We have asked our therapists at Integrative Counsel “What excites you most about counseling?”  and they have provided us with some insightful answers!

Therapists love helping people discover their creative potential

One of our clinicians, Laura, has said that her favorite part about being an art therapist is “The opportunity to see people rediscover and engage with their own creative potential.” There are so many instances for our therapists to see people grow over time, and know that it is their kindness and expertise that helps them get to that place. The most rewarding part of being a counselor is seeing people realize how much they are really worth, and live up to their true potential. Many people forget how much potential they have as they start to get down on themselves for their mental illness. The best part about being a therapist is showing people that they do have potential, their life is worth living, and then showing them how to make their life worth living, giving them the tools and action steps they need to move forward into a better,  happier version of themselves.

Connecting through empathy

Laura also says that she loves her job because she loves  “always being surprised and delighted by the interesting, meaningful and completely unique art that clients create and connecting through empathy and the therapeutic alliance.” She also loves  “observing the transformational shifts towards positive self-regard, by way of self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, and the creation of their own hero’s myth.” The hero’s myth is her speciality, and it is representative of the journey inward. Universal across human culture, and from earliest time to now, is the presence of myth, legend, and the hero figure. These tales of high adventure, battling of forces, and ultimate, transcendent victory mirror in a precise way the courageous process of creative psychotherapy. The journey inward is one to seek, find, win and return with not only new awareness and skill but a profound sense of the meaning of one’s story and one’s own personal mythology.

Sharing in a client’s “A-ha” moments

Our other clinician, Vivi, has said that one of her favorite parts about being an art therapist is “Sharing in a client’s “A-ha” moments.” This is special because she is able to be the guide in that moment, holding the lamp for the client as they explore different parts of themselves. It is a gift to watch someone else make steps in their journey and discover the root of their hurt and to be that person there, sharing it with them and helping them make an actionable plan to heal themselves.

Offering a new perspective

Vivi also says that she loves “offering a new perspective and being received and utilized for positive change as I watch the art-making process. Witnessing the response to it by the client is incredible.”  It is a wonderful feeling to be that person that helps someone create positive change in their life. An important part of therapy is showing people that the stories that they tell themselves are not always accurate. Giving someone an outside perspective helps them make big, important shifts in their lives. Our minds can have a grip on negative beliefs and stories and sometimes an outside perspective to see reason and ultimately access the wise mind.

*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.

The Women Who’ve Made Mental Health History

The Women Who’ve Made Mental Health History

For Women’s History Month, we wanted to put the spotlight on the women who have made mental health history. Women have made great professional strides over the years, especially in the realm of psychology. In the past, women were stereotyped as hysterical and weren’t taken seriously or given the proper treatment. This was especially true for women of color. The women we have highlighted below have paved the way for the way we look at psychology and mental health today, and have made it safer for marginalized groups to get the help they need.

E. Kitch Childs, Ph.D.

women's history

E Kitch Childs is one of the founders of the Association for Women in Psychology and Chicago’s Gay Liberation Front. She plays an important role as a leader of women in mental health. In her day, she implemented feminist therapy and used it to help black women and their experiences in America. Not only did she own her own practice, but she gave therapy to members of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups.

Mamie Phipps Clark, Ph.D.

women's history

Mamie Phipps Clark was the first Black woman to get her PhD in psychology from Columbia University. During her time in college, she realized the scarcity of mental health services available to minorities, especially the Black community. She is known for her work on the “Doll Study”, where 200 African American children participated. The Doll Study gave evidence in the court case Brown vs The Board of Education, and helped the court recognize that segregation was mentally harming African American children.

Beverly Greene, Ph.D.

women's history

Beverly Greene is a pioneer of intersectional psychology. She is also the author of the article “When the Therapist is White and the Patient is Black: Considerations for Psychotherapy in the Feminist Heterosexual and Lesbian Communities.” She is known for her work on heterosexism, sexism, and racism. The research she has done has shed light on how different parts of a person’s identity shape their experiences with mental health. Watch her interview here to hear her thoughts on being an African American feminist in therapy.

Hope Landrine, Ph.D.

Dr. Hope Landrine was known as an expert in psychology and public health. She was also known for the research she presented on the inequality that was running rampant in diagnosing patients with psychiatric disorders. This research showed that the stereotypes of minorities and poor people were impacting psychiatric diagnoses. This research is published in “The Politics of Madness.”

Melanie Klein

Melanie Klein is known for her work with children, particularly in her development of the play therapy technique. In her studies, she realized that children’s play can be analyzed in the same way that adult’s dreams can. She was responsible for taking psychology in a new direction, recognizing the correlation between what happens to people in early childhood and their emotions as an adult.

Mary Ainsworth

Mary Ainsworth is an incredibly important figure in child psychology and is known for her development of the attachment theory. To observe the attachment styles of children, she designed the “Strange Situation” procedure. This procedure includes eight 3-minute episodes where a stranger, child, and mother are acquainted, separated, and then reunited.

Dr. Inez Beverly Prosser

Inez Beverly Prosser was the first African American woman to receive her PhD in Psychology in 1933. This was an incredible accomplishment for all women, especially Black women. She was an inspiration for women and proved to them that they, too, could further their education, become doctors of psychology, and step firmly into the professional world.

 

 *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.

What’s Supporting Our Brains This Month

What’s Supporting Our Brains This Month

Do you ever feel like your brain needs a little extra support? Sometimes, negative thoughts can be sticky, and it becomes much easier to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling rather than bring yourself to do something about how you feel. We have found some easy ways to support your brain this month!

Exercising your brain

To support your brain, you need to exercise your brain. Letting your mind fall idle isn’t good for it. It’s important to take time to relax, but you also need to keep your mind active so it doesn’t slip into negativity. You can keep your brain active by curling up with a good book, writing in your journal, doing a logic puzzle, enrolling in a course that you’re curious about, or gardening.
One of our therapists, Vivi, has been using this tool, Brain HQ, for different brain exercises and brain training! Their online exercises work out attention, brain speed, memory, people skills, navigation, and intelligence.
Laura has been using Lumosity, which provides brain games to exercise your mind and sharpen your cognitive skills!

Socializing

It is easy to fall into a depression if you’re spending every day by yourself. With a lot of people now working from home, we are lacking in human connection. Our brains operate much better when we set aside time to regularly connect with friends and family. Sharing parts of ourselves with others enrich your life and keeps your brain cells strong and healthy. Because humans are wired to need connection, it is beneficial for our brains once we receive it.

Meditating

We can’t stress enough how important it is to have a regular meditation practice. When meditation isn’t part of your daily routine, it becomes easier for your “monkey brain” to take over. This is the part of your brain that is activated when your mind is just wandering and not being present. It makes us ruminate, worrying about things that happened in the past or the future. When you have a strong meditation practice, you alleviate anxiety and depression and have an easier time focusing on what you need to get done throughout the day. That doesn’t mean that your mind doesn’t still wander, it just means that when you build your meditation practice and make it a habit, it’s easier for you to get back to being balanced when something comes up.
One of our practitioners, Vivi, has been using this meditation app, which gives you guided meditations and teachings that will help you get through your day.
Laura has found that this youtube channel has been extremely helpful for guided meditations, especially when you’re having trouble sleeping.

Getting adequate sleep

In order to support your brain, you need to be getting enough sleep. If you’re not sleeping enough, your brain doesn’t have enough time to regenerate. When you get enough sleep, the neurons finally have their break and can rest and repair while you rest, making it so your mind works more quickly and accurately the next day. Without sleep, your mind has more trouble thinking quickly and creatively–it will only want to shut down and crawl into bed. The average adult needs about 7.5-8.5 hours of sleep a day. Give your brain the support it needs, and allow yourself to rest and recharge.

Eating a proper diet

Food is fuel to your brain. If you’re not eating or drinking enough water, your brain simply won’t be able to function properly. If you are only eating processed foods and junk food, you aren’t giving yourself the energy you actually need. Some great brain foods include avocado, blueberries, walnuts, eggs, salmon. It’s also important to make sure you are staying hydrated. The brain is 80% water, and even being a little bit dehydrated makes you feel fatigued and contributes to a loss of mental clarity.

*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.

8 Art Therapy Activities For Winter Blues

8 Art Therapy Activities For Winter Blues

For some of us, spring can’t come soon enough. With the weather, the light, and the current state of the world, it can be easy to feel those familiar winter blues. Lighten your load with these art therapy activities you can do from the comfort of your home.

Hand Drawing

Embrace your inner child and get back into hand drawing! For this activity, you’ll want to draw an outline of your hand. In that outline, you have the freedom to draw different shapes, use different colors, and write words of encouragement.

Paint to music

Create an art therapy playlist and let the music move you to create. Making art to the flow of a song will help you feel more creative and present.

Draw out your stress

Instead of letting your stress overwhelm you, pour it out onto the paper. Writing it down can help, but sometimes you need a little extra boost. Using colors and abstract shapes to draw out what you are feeling can help you make sense of it, release it, and move forward.

Make a postcard from your future self

When you are struggling with depression, it can be a challenge to envision a better future for yourself. On the front of the postcard, draw or paint a picture of what you would like your life to look like in the future. On the back of the card, write a letter to yourself giving yourself love and encouragement. This will help you feel more hopeful about the future and get the future that you want.

Make origami

If you’re feeling worried or anxious, making origami can help! This is because it allows you to fully focus on what you’re doing, and the act of folding paper is very relaxing. There are times, however, when origami can feel very frustrating, however, it teaches you to stick with something, ask for help, and persevere even when things feel rough.

Create an expressive self-portrait

Paint yourself, but get creative with it. Use expressive colors to demonstrate your feelings, and allow them to be abstract rather than realistic. Let your imagination run wild as you free yourself from conventional self-portrait painting.

Use your body as a canvas

Sometimes, you need something to help you feel more grounded and in touch with your body. Using bodypaints and painting on your body can help you feel more appreciative of yourself, build your confidence, and see yourself as the work of art you are.

Make ephemeral art.

Ephemeral art is art that doesn’t last. You would use materials such as sand, chalk, and water to create art with the intention of letting it go after. A lot of us struggle with letting things go, especially when we have an emotional attachment to them. This will teach you that it is healthy and freeing to let things go.

 *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.

Stop Toxic Thoughts

Stop Toxic Thoughts

Suffering. We all feel it at times. But what if your thoughts are the thing causing you to suffer? Well, It’s more likely than you think! The power of our minds is so strong that they can produce mental images that don’t even exist. This is wonderful when we want to be creative and express our imagination, but it gets in the way when we have that one negative thought that gets caught in a loop. We share examples of what thoughts can be toxic, and how to reduce the suffering that accompanies them.

Everyone experiences negative thought patterns. Toxic thinking is focusing on the negative, having black and white thinking, and only zooming in on one perspective. Major issues arise when we are unable to stop these nagging, toxic thoughts in their tracks and replace them with more positive thoughts.

Some examples of toxic thoughts are:

  • Thinking you are the victim.
  • Thoughts that resist “what is”.
  • “The grass is always greener on the other side.”
  • Worrying about what other people think.
  • Worrying about or feeling unprepared for the future.

Whenever we are having thoughts like this, it is important to have awareness over your thoughts. To do this, you need to take a step back for a moment and really investigate your thoughts. What is the evidence for and against whatever belief you have at the moment? What are the costs and benefits of certain thoughts you have? Could you be thinking more flexibly about the situation?

There is a DBT skill designed just for moments like these called “checking the facts”. This will help you step back from the toxic thoughts you are having, and investigate them, seeing if there are any judgments you may be having, or extreme thinking. This helps you walk the middle line and access your wise mind. Your wise mind is not so rational that it stays in black and white thinking, but also not too emotional that it fluctuates from one extreme to the other. Accessing the wise mind helps you step back from your thoughts and observe them like you would a leaf floating down a river. If you’re worrying or ruminating about something, or having judgemental thoughts, you will be able to see them more clearly, and you’ll be able to figure out your next steps.

When you are having these negative thoughts, it is important to stop that negative thought pattern right in its tracks. You can do this by going on a quick walk, splashing cold water on your face, doing some sun salutations, inhaling and exhaling for a count of 4 each time, or repeating these mantras to yourself:

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
I am exactly where I need to be right now.
Joy is right here.
I am free from worry about what others think of my plans and goals.
My thoughts don’t control me, I control my thoughts.
I am on my own unique journey and opportunities will arise when I am ready for them.

 *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.

Be Your Own Valentine

Be Your Own Valentine

“Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.” Marcus Aurelius

Valentine’s day is almost here- and so is the pressure. Oftentimes, we rely on our friends or partners for validation or to feel loved. When these relationships end, we feel unloved, wondering where we went wrong or if we could have tried harder. The love that you seek outside of yourself is love that you can find from within your own soul. Whether you are single or in some type of partnership, you can validate your own heart’s needs. Here’s how to do it.

Take yourself out on a real date

If you have ever taken a woman out on a date, you know that there are certain things you must do to make an impression on them. Do this for yourself! Take yourself out to that restaurant you have been wanting to try but haven’t had the chance to, a place that makes you feel like jumping up and down with excitement. Get dressed up and make an impression on yourself! Do something that excites you and makes you enjoy spending time with just yourself.

Buy yourself something that you don’t “need” but really want

There’s always that one thing that you really want, but feel like you have to justify in order to buy for yourself. Being your own valentine means making yourself feel special, and it is such a treat to make a special purchase. The good thing about buying your own Valentine’s day gift is that you know yourself better than anyone else, so you don’t need to worry about getting the wrong gift or vice versa. Knowing yourself well means knowing all the ways in which you can impress yourself.

Explore by yourself

Be curious. Find an interesting place that is in your area that you haven’t explored yet, and take yourself on an adventure. Be mindful of what you see, and really be grateful for the opportunity to be outside while breathing in the fresh air, and being one with nature. You don’t need a partner to go on adventures with when you enjoy spending time with yourself and discovering new things. If you feel like staying in rather than going out, you can throw on a nature documentary and give it your full attention so you really feel like you are right there. Be creative with your explorations!

Eat whatever you want

In order to be your own Valentine, you can’t restrict yourself. This is the time where you can really go all out and give yourself the meal that you would eat if you were on death row and it was your last. What meal makes you light up with joy? What meal makes you want to do a little dance? Indulge in that meal–and don’t guilt yourself! You’re trying to impress yourself, remember?

Look in the mirror and say positive affirmations

You can’t always rely on other people to tell you what you want to hear. Sometimes, you need to be the one to tell yourself how wonderful you are. A good self-love practice is to stand in front of the mirror, look into your eyes, and repeat these affirmations to yourself:

“I am gorgeous and unstoppable.”
“I love my beautiful and powerful body.”
“I find the good in everything.”
“I forgive myself for past mistakes”
“I will never stop loving myself no matter what.”

Part of being your own Valentine is treating yourself, and making yourself feel secure in knowing that you will always have your back. Be sure you remember to have a healthy balance between treating yourself and taking care of yourself. Ask yourself “what is one difficult thing I need to do that will make my life better?” and follow through with 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.

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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!