This year, holiday celebrations are likely different than in past years. In addition to acknowledging whatever emotions come up for you during the holidays this year, another helpful thing can be practicing gratitude. A growing body of research has shown that people who engage in gratitude practices (even during the COVID-19 pandemic) have higher wellbeing and vitality than those who do not. To get you started, the following website has a great list of ideas about ways to practice gratitude individually or with loved ones: https://daringtolivefully.com/gratitude-exercises
This activity uses getting quiet and posing a question to oneself, “How can I be more balanced?” as well as using the imagery of balancing on a tree branch to create an embodied experience of balance.
Choose a space in your home to dedicate to safety and calmness. This could be a room, or even a closet, corner, or a spot outside. Fill the space with things that make you feel safe and calm, so that you can take breaks there and feel more grounded. When thinking about things to include, it can be helpful to think about what textures, smells, imagery, sounds, lighting, or tastes help you feel safe, calm, and grounded
Passive, Aggressive, and Assertive Communication: Most of us use each of these styles of communication throughout our lives and in different relationships in our lives. Assertive communication is characterized by respect, confidence, firmness, fairness, and a relaxed demeanor. Review the table below to learn more about each of these communication styles. Reflect on which situations and which relationships you use each of these communication styles.
Our minds and bodies are in constant communication, and our breathing patterns are one example of this. When we feel stressed, we often take shallow, quick breaths from our chest. When we feel safe and relaxed, we take longer, deeper breaths from our stomachs. Experiment with changing your breathing patterns and notice what happens in your body and mind. This can be a great way to manage stress and anxiety.
Reducing vulnerability to unpleasant emotions: While all emotions serve a function and have meaning, sometimes it can be helpful to find ways to protect ourselves from “spiraling” and feeling overwhelmed. The following acronym from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is used to help us remember ways to reduce our vulnerability to “spiraling:”
This exercise guides the client in attending to pleasant sensation, then unpleasant, then back to pleasant, and then trying to perceive both at once. It is a good practice of shifting attention to not ruminate on pain or troubles.
Accepting our own vulnerability is made easier when give ourselves compassion. Use this self-compassion break with clients in session or encourage them to use it on their own when working with difficult or vulnerable emotions.
This is a guided walking meditation.
Help clients experience the steadiness and continuity of their mind that is underneath mental events like emotions.