Today we’re tackling the topic of managing your moods. There are a plethora of mental health tips out there on everything from emotion regulation to self care ideas, but most of them are not written by a mental health professional. I’m here to share the actual interventions I use with my clients as well as be an ongoing support to you as you prioritize your mental health and wellbeing.For the sake of this post, I’m going to stick with some basic principles – ways to increase your awareness of what you are experiencing and feeling. The goal is to gain better control of your emotions, allowing you to decide what to do with them, rather than being controlled by them.
Be specific about exactly what you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing
Most of the time, it’s not enough to say “I’m feeling depressed” or “I am anxious about this.” It’s not specific enough. That doesn’t tell you how
depressed or anxious you are feeling, nor does it allow you to compare how you are feeling today with yesterday or last week. Using a tool such as a depression scale
or an anxiety inventory
can be very helpful. These measures aren’t meant as tools for you to self-diagnose; rather they clue you into the symptoms therapists commonly assess for. I repeat: DIAGNOSING IS BEST LEFT TO PROFESSIONALS. However, these scales can give you an idea as to whether what you are experiencing is within a normal range or if it would be wise to see a therapist to get some additional support. Also, doing an inventory every so often gives you an idea of how you are progressing over time.
Test your thinking
Taking the time to really understand why
you are feeling a certain way is truly half the battle to feeling something different. Whenever you have a strong mood (anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety, etc.), you can use a thought record to process through what made you feel that way as well as your underlying beliefs which may have contributed to that emotion. Thought records are used by therapists all the time to help their clients gain insight into their moods, thoughts, and behaviors. You can find a printable thought record here
and read more about how they can be helpful here
What is the problem you are trying to change? Is it a mood, a repeated behavior pattern, a difficult relationship? Write down a goal you would like to work toward related to what you want to change. Then write down some simple actions you can take to make progress toward that goal. If you get stuck, think of what advice you would give a friend who had the same goal. Or ask your therapist or a Bestie to help you. It is also helpful to try coping ahead by thinking of obstacles that could hinder your progress toward your goal. Answer the question: If ________ happens, I will cope by _______________.
HAVE SOME FUN
For the love
. If you want to feel something different, you have to do something different
. What makes you happy?
What makes you laugh? What do you love to do? Make a list and then do something on that list.
One thing I tell my clients to do is write something fun they like to do on each index card in a whole deck. When they find themselves struggling to cope or if they are simply having a bad day, I tell them to shuffle up the deck and choose a card. Then do
whatever is on that card. You are the author of that deck, therefore you should be perfectly willing to do whatever that card says. Keep those cards handy and you will always be able to change your mood lickety split.
I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions! Your Self Care Bestie is here for you. And if you are interested in FaceTime, Skype, or phone therapy, please don’t hesitate to email me.
I would love to assist you in any way possible.
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