Ask yourself, “When things aren’t going well in your family, how do you “start over”? Is it ever too late to grow wiser together?
May is Mental Health Awareness month. In the month ahead, we will be highlighting some ways that your family can build healthier habits in both physical and mental wellness. We will also be sharing some important statistics, data and facts about mental health and wellness in the US and our world.
One thing we know as we begin this discussion of mental health is that it is never too late to start again.
Some of our therapy team share their thoughts about family and how the good moments and the not-so-good moments can both help shape our family’s wellness.
Dominique Adkins, Ed.d., LPC, NCC, ACS:
Life is full of wonderful moments. It is also full of challenging ones. Families often forget that these moments are all temporary. I encourage families to mindfully embrace the wonderful moments as they can be a source of knowledge and strength for the challenges.
Positive moments can also be used to create a family action plan and practice the skills/strategies for surviving the tough moments. When things in the family are not going well please remember it will not last forever. There is a tendency to avoid difficult moments and feelings which only prolongs the suffering.
The key is to recognize the challenge then implement the strategies that offer temporary relief to survive the moment which allows for a fresh start in the next moment. In the next moment, the goal is to shift the family into a non-blaming and non-judgmental pattern of interactions which allows for the family to grow wise together!
Amanda Beyland, LCSW:
There’s always room for growth whether it is individually or within your family. When things get a little rough, it may be difficult to picture coming out the other side so the hard times may feel drawn-out.
Think of these times as an opportunity to develop and learn as a family, whether it is through new communication skills or a different way of problem solving. Try not to get stuck and spend too much time focusing on the negative of the situation. Instead focus on how things are going to improve once the situation has been resolved: accept it as a challenge and then focus on overcoming it.
Kasey Cain, Resident in Counseling:
In the world of social media where everyone posts their perfectly curated family moments, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone has it better than me. This can be particularly tempting when things aren’t going well for your family. Regardless of why your family may be encountering challenges, here are 5 suggestions for hitting the “refresh” button.
1. Don’t ‘Should’ on yourself. Instead of focusing on what you think should have happened or be happening, focus on what IS happening. While you are focusing on your reality, remember to –
2. Be kind to yourself. People have approximately 70,000 thoughts a day and about 80% of those are repeating and negative. It takes practice to stop the negative thoughts and purposefully create kind self-talk.
3. Practice an attitude of gratitude. Developing an attitude of gratitude supports health and happiness. The healthier and happier you are, the better equipped you will be to persevere through family challenges and develop your own resilience.
4. Take a Break. If you are finding yourself engaged in an argument or a power struggle walk away. Saying something like “This really isn’t helpful so I’m going to take some time to calm down. I hope we can revisit this when we are a bit calmer.” can diffuse a situation. Problem solving is not effective when in crisis mode so it is important to return to calm before trying to identify solutions.
5. Ask for help. Some people view asking for help as a sign of weakness or an embarrassment. In reality, being able to know when you need help and reaching out is one of the strongest and smartest moves you can make. Everyone encounters challenges. They may not post about it on their Facebook feed, but know that you are not alone. So, go ahead and “Like” your friend’s “perfect” picture but don’t forget to “LOVE” your moments, even the messy ones, too!
Until next week, Be Wise!