All posts by Inner Renovations Counseling, PLLC

Blog, Resources, & Toolbox of Skills for Your Personal Inner Renovations Project | Chanel C. Bowen, LCMHC, LCAS, CCS | For main site visit www.InnerRenovations.com

Connect with a Peaceful Moment in Time

Think about a time in your life where everything was okay. You looked around and the sky seemed a little brighter, the air felt cleaner, and for that moment you were just grateful to be alive. When you connect to that memory, try to think of everything that made the moment special. Engage all of your senses to remember the way it looked, smelled, felt and sounded. Say to yourself “I am okay in this moment. Peace and joy are within me.

The purpose of the exercise is to connect with a resource that you already have stored in the archives of your mind. You retrieve the pleasant memory of a time that you experienced Personal Peace & Joy, and work with it in a way that refreshes its clarity and is more accessible to you when you need it most.

When might you need to consciously connect to that vision of a peaceful and joyful moment? When you are feeling it’s opposite: overwhelmed, anxious, sad, stressed, or any other unwanted inner experience. You can practice changing the channel in your mind by turning your attention to your selected moment in time.

Remember how your Peaceful and Joyful moment

Looks

Smells

Sounds

Feels

and Tastes

if you can involve all 5 senses!

You have more ability to regulate your emotions than you may be aware of right now. It takes some practice to observe how you are feeling then apply skills you learn to shift things in a more positive direction. Be sure to practice Connect with a Peaceful Moment when things feel okay for you, so that you are already familiar with calling up that vision during more challenging times.

You are Worth Your Love Today

The world has a way of making us question our worth sometimes. From images portrayed in the media, to things people may have said to you early in life, and ways you’ve been treated – all of those things can have an impact on the way you feel about and view yourself.

You have grown in many ways, have more experiences, and can tap into the wisdom you’ve gained over the years to determine who and what you are for yourself. You don’t have to have it all figured out or have the key just yet to your ultimate purpose. Start with the basics – with what it is possible for you to know for sure at this very moment.

YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Worth what?

YOUR OWN LOVE.

Know that for sure. Don’t worry about what others have done with the love you tried to give them, or whether they are giving it to you right now. Just connect with the fact that

YOU ARE WORTH YOUR OWN LOVE.

Knowing that truth will sustain you through complicated times as you may be navigating now. You are not alone and are capable of giving and receiving the love you deserve. It comes from you, to you.

Affirm:

“I AM WORTH MY LOVE TODAY.”

Affirm that everyday.

Form a New Relationship with your Mind and Body

You may have noticed change in many areas of your life. Living on planet Earth over the past year or two may have shifted your perceptions and beliefs in one way or another. It can be helpful to explore the validity of certain deeply held beliefs to determine if they still fit who you are and want to be. This means determining if your current way of living actually reflects your values and what’s important to you at this stage in life.

Questions may include:

  • Who am I and what is my place in the world?
  • What makes me feel happy, healthy and whole?
  • How do I identify and accomplish my goals?
  • …and more…

This self-exploration can include more in-depth questions about what needs to be modified so you can experience more harmony within yourself and with others.

Discovery of such answers takes time and patience. Sometimes with helpful guides and sometimes in the quietude of your meditations. It is what personal discovery, honest self-examination, and spiritual quests are made of. But there is an easy first step.

Make the decision to form a new relationship with your mind and body.

This very act, though seemingly small, means you are acknowledging an important key in your self-discovery and wellness journey. You are empowered in knowing “I am not my mind (my thoughts, cognitions, emotions, etc.), and I am not my body (the vehicle in which I experience this life).”

This acknowledgement puts you in position to form a more accurate relationship with both. You can now observe the workings of the mind and live in awareness of the body’s movements through time and space.

You are the awareness, the observer of the experience.

If, at times, you feel overwhelmed by what is happening in your mind or struggle with perceptions of your body, it can be helpful to:

INHALE your attention back into yourself. Noticing the way the breath feels coming into the tip of your nose.

EXHALE slowly while imagining tension melting away from your muscles.

INHALE: “I am in loving relationship with my mind and body.”

EXHALE: “I am not my mind, I am not my body.”

Repeat this round of paced breathing while affirming those helpful reminders to yourself.

It is true you are not mind or body; you HAVE a mind and a body. So, in relation to mind and body, who are you? Have a great day, you beautiful Spirit.

S.T.O.P. for a Moment of Mindfulness

It doesn’t always happen easily – having a moment of peace. There are often so many things to take care of at once that it’s difficult to consider where on the calendar to schedule self-care, let alone a sacred moment to really rejuvenate, regroup and reconnect.

This is why it may be necessary to intentionally S.T.O.P. so that you can create mindfulness moments within the day. You can use this skill to bring heart, mind, and spirit together and to interrupt overwhelming mental processes.

Practice the following skill called S.T.O.P., to build mindfulness moments into your day:

When you notice that you have started moving quickly, heart rate has increased, and your mind is over processing information and stimuli, say to yourself in a gentle way: “STOP.” This will remind you of the helpful acronym to bring yourself back to a more mindful way of moving through the day.

(S) Stop

(T) Take a breath

(O) Observe

(P) Proceed

Stop. Using gentle inner dialogue, encourage yourself to stop for a moment. It’s worth it. You are worth it. It won’t take long, so give yourself permission to bring a temporary pause to the overthinking, over-analyzing and emotional overwhelm by suggesting to yourself that you S.T.O.P. at this time.

Take a breath. Draw your attention back into yourself with your inhale. Exhale and imagine tension leaving your body. Take as many breaths as you want as you start to feel more centered and grounded in your moment. Allow more oxygen to your brain as you reconnect with yourself through your breathing.

Observe. Notice what is happening in your mind and body. Just observe, without judgment – without qualifying anything as good or bad. Just allow yourself to notice your experience.

Proceed. Move forward from this point with your best course of action. With more balance and clarity, proceed in a way that helps you feel well. You remain in the driver’s seat of your experience, no longer driven by your thoughts and emotions.

Proceed from this moment to the next, more centered and grounded.

Photo by Kelvin Valerio

You Are Forgiven

There can sometimes be no one harder on you than yourself. Mistakes have been made. The memories of our foibles and faux pas can flash through our minds creating moments of epic cringe. It’s time to let those go. I’m not suggesting you simply stop having the memories; when they resurface is often outside of our control. We can, however, control how we respond when it happens.

If you reflect on a mistake you made, a misunderstanding, or even some offense committed against you – what emotions are associated with that memory?

SHAME? ANGER? REGRET? DISAPPOINTMENT? ALL OF THE ABOVE?

After noticing the emotions that arise when you reflect on those situations, you can try to reduce their impact by focusing less on them and shifting your attention onto forgiveness.

You can forgive yourself. You can forgive someone else. You can forgive the situation as a whole.

It is not saying that you agree, condone, or like the situation. It is acknowledging what occurred in the past and making the conscious decision to release its hold on your mind and spirit. In time, distressing thoughts and feelings decrease with the practice of forgiveness. It could be instant; it could be slowly and surely. What is most important is that the load be lighter in your heart and mind so that you experience love and life the way God intended. That is why you are already forgiven.

AFFIRM. RINSE. REPEAT:

I AM FORGIVEN. I FORGIVE YOU. I FORGIVE ME.

Skill-Building Worksheets

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Use these worksheets to support the work that you are doing in session. By practicing your skills and completing exercises between sessions, you increase the likelihood of healthier thinking and behaviors coming more naturally.


Goals of Exercise:

  1. Identify negative, distorted cognitions that mediate intense negative emotions.
  2. Learn new ways to think that are more adaptive.
  3. Replace negative thoughts with more positive, realistic interpretations of situations.
  4. Replace dichotomous thinking with the ability to tolerate ambiguity and complexity in people and issues.

Goals of Exercise:

  1. Develop an awareness of the irrational nature of the fear and anxiety.
  2. Examine the probability of the negative expectation occurring and its consequences.
  3. Identify distorted self-talk that mediates the anxiety response.
  4. Recognize that the feared outcome will not terminate the ability to function.
  5. Resolve the core conflict that is the source of the anxiety.

Goals of Exercise:

  1. Identify successful coping strategies used in the past.
  2. View yourself as a capable, resourceful person who has been successful at overcoming fear.
  3. Apply successful coping strategies from the past to current anxieties.
  4. Enhance ability to effectively cope with the full variety of life’s anxieties.

Goals of Exercise:

  1. Develop and implement a daily ritual that interrupts the current pattern of compulsions.
  2. Reduce interference from or time involved with obsessions and compulsions.
  3. Function daily at a consistent level with minimal interference from obsessions and compulsions.

Goals of Exercise:

  1. Identify and develop specific strategies to resolve the fear.
  2. Implement a specific strategy on a consistent basis to minimize the impact of the fear.
  3. Increase confidence and effectiveness in coping with the fear.
  4. Reduce fear of the specific stimulus object or situation that previously provoked phobic anxiety.

Goals of Exercise:

  1. Verbalize an understanding of the relationship between distorted thinking and negative emotions.
  2. Learn key concepts regarding types of distorted thinking.
  3. Apply key concepts regarding distorted thinking to own experience.
  4. Identify and replace cognitive self-talk that is engaged in to support depression.

FOR USE BY CLIENTS OF INNER RENOVATIONS COUNSELING, PLLC.
ADULT PSYCHOTHERAPY HOMEWORK BY JONGSMA CORRESPONDS WITH APPROPRIATE DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT PLAN. THIS INFO IS NOT MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE. DISCUSS YOUR SYMPTOMS WITH A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL.

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FOR USE BY CLIENTS OF INNER RENOVATIONS COUNSELING, PLLC.
ADULT PSYCHOTHERAPY HOMEWORK BY JONGSMA CORRESPONDS WITH APPROPRIATE DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT PLAN. THIS INFO IS NOT MENTAL HEALTH ADVICE. DISCUSS YOUR SYMPTOMS WITH A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL.

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Free From the Blame Game

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BLAME is an interesting tool that works two ways.  It is the proverbial double-edged sword.

On one end it can be pointed towards others to shift responsibility away from yourself.

The other end can be turned on yourself to take responsibility for things that aren’t your fault.

I suppose that’s why its closely related to one of the “Unhelpful Thinking Styles” in CBT called PersonalizationAn event happens that you view as your fault or another person’s fault when really it was no one’s. The reality is that someone does not always have to be at fault.  There does not always have to be someone to blame. 

Do you need to release yourself or anyone else from blame and shame about things that have passed and cannot be changed?  Is it time to forgive the past and accept the present?

Repeat this thought every once in awhile to start releasing yourself and others from blame and shame that is causing you pain:

“I FORGIVE YOU. I FORGIVE ME.”

Happy, Healthy and Whole

You deserve to feel happy, healthy, and whole.

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If you already know this, it’s wonderful that you already embrace the truth. If your mind challenged the statement, it may be that you have been through things in life that make it hard to believe; or maybe you question whether you actually deserve it.

Today, let’s practice acceptance of that truth. Let go of doubt. Allow yourself to know that happiness, health, and wholeness is indeed a reality you can experience. Affirm it, until you experience it.

AFFIRMATION: “I Am Happy, Healthy and Whole.”

Veterans in Mind

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As the granddaughter, daughter, and wife of Veterans who served in both the U.S. Marines and Army, I wholeheartedly appreciate the sacrifices made by those who volunteered to do the jobs and go into uncertain situations so the rest of us would not have to. They should be appreciated everyday, but on Veteran’s Day we take a moment to honor the men and women who know or knew life in a different way than civilians; especially if they have seen war.

Whether or not people agree with the politics of current events, or the behaviors of any particular administration is of little consequence when we consider the humanity of each being who puts on their uniform. That soul has their own hopes, goals, fears, and family. A part of their job is to make sure their personal views don’t get in the way of doing the job they have orders to do.

The Veteran has seen this process all the way through in one way or the other. Whether retired from active duty, or made the ultimate sacrifice of their life – Veterans of the past, present, and future deserve respect for their commitment to their country beyond the needs of themselves – so the rest of us are free to engage in discourse about our views. As we often find ourselves divided as a society, let us stop to think of those who fought for greater security and to protect democracy – the Veteran who risked their life as an individual to contribute to protecting the country as a whole.

Distress Tolerance

It’s unavoidable; life gives us lemons.  It’s how we deal with it that counts. Distress tolerance skills help us in difficult situations when we want to keep our composure or regain it after feeling too worked out. These skills are to reduce stress and anxiety levels, and to improve the way we are experiencing the moment. You’ll need the ability to soothe yourself, take care of yourself, show compassion to self and others.

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