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

STOP for a Moment of Mindfulness

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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.

You Are Forgiven

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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?


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.



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.


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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:


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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Interpersonal Effectiveness

Would you like to be more effective in the way you handle yourself in the presence of others? Could you use more confidence when it comes to getting your point across and your needs met? If so, these Interpersonal Effectiveness skills are worth the practice. Often times, stress and anxiety can interfere with our ability to be heard and to express ourselves as well as we’d like to. By developing skills to have your voice heard while keeping a good balance of Emotion and Reason, you’ll improve relationships while earning respect for yourself.

Use the following graphics as reminders of the Interpersonal Effectiveness DBT Skills.

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Kingdom of Heaven Within

If you sometimes struggle with confidence and have problems with self-esteem, I have Good News for you.  You have every reason to love who you are and to walk through life filled with joy.  Consider yourself royalty, in fact.  The heart of the Inner Renovations Project is to help you connect to your heart and what lives within.  It is to help you answer your questions of “Who Am I?”  It is so that you recognize that you are more than your past, more than your thoughts, more than any mistakes you think you’ve made or pain caused to you.  In fact, those are things you’ve experienced but they are not you. You are a spiritual being having these human experiences.

You will be able to improve your self-concepts by clarifying just how special you truly are, not by anyone’s standards but the one who created you just how you are meant to be.  There are things within you that you have yet to discover; your very peace and healing living right inside of you.  We discuss Biblical references that will help you on your journey to knowing the truth about who God says you are and why everything you need is already within you.

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ 

For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17:20-21


The most important thing for you to do at this moment in your life is start looking at what you have inside of you.  Understand your value and the reason for your creation. You are made in the image of Light and Love.

You are made in the image…

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

Genesis 1:27

of Light…

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5

and Love.

He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love.

1 John 4:8



Use these “I Am” statements that you can reference in the Good News to see yourself the way God sees you. You are great because that which is in you is great. Download this free resource, and say each statement daily until these truths about you become a part of your core belief system.

The Inner Renovations Kingdom Affirmation handout includes 20 pages of Scripture references in the form of “I Am” statements. Each affirmation’s page includes a section for you to consider what myths/barriers must be overcome so you can experience it’s truth in your life.