This October, how are you working on yourself?
The leaves are falling. The air is starting to resemble pre-climate change temperatures. Halloween is just around the corner, and autumn is in full swing. This is a time of year where everything is changing, and we are no exception. Transformation doesn’t stop just because we’re outside of a therapy appointment. This October, you can do it yourself with these activities.
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L.M Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Explore Your Thoughts Through Journaling
Being able to see your thoughts in written form is a powerful thing. It’s one thing to hear your voice as you’re speaking, and another to see it right in front of you. That process can be uncomfortable. Looking at ourselves critically and honestly can be a laborious task, we risk opening ourselves up to our own judgment, and these obstacles can feel impossible to overcome. But the potential for growth and insight is too big to ignore.
Ask yourself honest questions. The sort of questions you find it hard to answer, but often come to your mind. This isn’t your opportunity to hurl insults at yourself. Calling yourself names and dwelling on your inadequacies is just your own self-pity in disguise. This is your opportunity to see the places where you need to grow. You can start by asking questions like:
- Where do I feel like I am failing?
- How am I trying to improve?
- What could I try differently?
- When all is said and done, I want everything to be more ________.
- Who could I rely on for support?
“Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.” – Carl Jung
Open Your Mind With DBT
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (or DBT) can change the way you interact with both yourself and the world around you. At its foundation is the concept that more than one thing can be true at the same time. Through a variety of skills and techniques, the concepts of DBT can be applied with no appointments required just so long as you have a desire to learn them. Concepts such as:
- Recognize Catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is when you assume that the absolute worst possible thing will happen to the point of making yourself upset. If you are able to identify and talk down these feelings of potential catastrophe, you can finally lighten the immense burden of your anxiety.
- Active Listening. This is the subtle art of hearing, trying to understand, and letting the other person know that you are hearing and trying to understand. By mastering active listening, you can help others open up and begin to perfect the discipline of compassion.
- Have Productive Conversations. DEAR MAN is a DBT skill intended to guide you when it comes time to ask for something. Meeting your own needs is a vital skill for both pleasure and survival, and often we have to turn to others in order to make things happen. By mastering DEAR MAN, you can ask for the things you want and need in an effective way that honors both yourself and the person you’re asking.
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” – Seneca
Paint Your Feelings In The Abstract
The idea of picking up a paintbrush can be a daunting task, even for people who have trained in the discipline of painting. Choosing your subject, copying their form, and bringing it to life can be a tall order. It’s hard to thrive under that pressure. So I invite you to make a piece of art where you don’t have to worry about any of that.
There is only one rule that you should follow while making this piece: it will represent your feelings. Your feelings are not lifelike concrete objects you could see or touch, so instead show us the energy that they represent in your mind and body. Let your subconscious speak through the canvas in front of you. Choose colors that match your feelings, draw shapes that represent your thoughts, and ask yourself questions about what this means to you.
- Think about how you used color…
- Which colors did you feature most prominently?
- Which colors went unused?
- How does each color make you feel?
- Think about the composition of your painting…
- What did you put close to one other?
- What did you keep far apart?
- Which colors, shapes, or ideas are coming into conflict?
At Integrative Counsel, we’re always trying to share new ways to engage and grow your heart and mind. Oftentimes, we don’t know what we are looking for until it is right in front of us.
If you liked these activities, then you’d probably love our free newsletter, where you can stay updated on all the exciting things we have in the pipeline. It’s pretty much like our digital magazine!
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.