A GREAT PRACTICE FOR A ‘MENTALLY HEALTHY LIFE’ | Living One Day at a Time
Do you ever feel like you can barely get through today, let alone tomorrow or the day after that? Well, the reality is, thinking this way will only produce anxiety and fear of the future. And sometimes we need to bring it down to one moment at a time.
We were never meant to worry about tomorrow. Look forward to, yes but not worry about or dread.
While ever we are looking forward we are not living in the now. We are literally missing out on the many things that are going on around us in this present moment. Most of us miss what is going on NOW!
I remember an exercise my 4th class English teacher, had us do. I didn’t know it then, but it was an exercise in mindfulness.
She asked us to be very still, and listen for the many different sounds we could hear for that next two minutes. I still practice this today. Sometimes when I sit on my back deck and purposefully listen, I can hear several different birds singing, the sound of cars, rustling leaves, my heartbeat, and the wind. It really brings me right back to the here and now and brings with it such a sense of peace and serenity.
I don’t know about you but I used to live life for many years as if I was riding a rollercoaster.
I would get so excited about the good things that were coming up tomorrow or next week or in the future and being a natural optimist my expectations were so high they were almost through the roof and often extremely unrealistic. Most of the time after the event or what I had been looking forward to I felt LET DOWN. Then I would dive into the depths of despair or depression over unmet expectations.
These days I don’t get overly excited about things beforehand and try and stay on an even keel. Then whatever great things happen are a bonus. This is good practice for my mental health.
Then there is the big one!
LIVING IN THE PAST.
While ever we do this, we will be stuck… We really can’t go anywhere… If you are constantly living in yesterday you might as well be walking in quicksand.. Until you get out, you will never be free to enjoy today…
After counselling so many people and having endured myself I have come to realise that most of the traumas people face are in the ‘recollection of the suffering of the past’… We tend to bring it into the here and now with us when it has no place to be there. It is not part of our unless we make it so, so today and every day is a new day of its own.
Often we base our perception on what we ‘think’ we are able to cope with into the future based on our past experiences. It’s never a good prescription for success or happiness because today we are stronger than yesterday having overcome the challenges we have faced. With it we possess a new capacity as a result, so what we are able to do tomorrow will be greater than yesterday if we are able to look at it in this positive light.
True happiness lies in living for today. Living for today equals balance. Today is a gift. Don’t miss it. If we didn’t have the bad moments we would never appreciate the good ones. No day is perfect, but as I always say, ‘there are perfect moments in every day’. And the moments that aren’t so perfect, are opportunities for growth and compassion. So, live your life today with gratitude for whatever you can find to be grateful for.
I am so grateful I heard this saying, ‘ONE DAY AT A TIME’ all those years ago when I became clean and sober.
Back then to go one day through life without drinking seemed like an absolute impossibility. To think that I could go years without it back then was unfathomable but has proved to be possible one day at a time. For someone like me who needed alcohol and pills every single day to get through life, I know this to be so true,
Anything is possible one day at a time.
I have come across many people over the years, who have opened up and shared about some of the pain in their lives. When I ask them if they have sought help, the answer is all too familiar. For many professionals, men, in particular, seeking help can be seen as a sign of weakness amongst their peers. They are told to ‘man up’ men don’t share their feelings and so they go on and on stuffing their pain down again and again with many ending up with PTSD and turning to alcohol substances or medication to cope.
Having grown up in therapy from the age of 10 after a breakdown, bearing my soul was the only option for survival.
I guess what I did next came naturally. I didn’t choose to be a counsellor, life strategist, therapist, call it what you may, it chose me.
My dream and desire as a little girl were to be a famous jazz musician or an actress. Two fields I was born gifted in, but it wasn’t to be. Listening to people’s stories and helping them change the course of their life for better was what I literally fell into. Being the girl growing up in a home with 2 alcoholic parents who carried the extra kilos, had a face full of pimples, and home cut hair, I knew what loneliness was like only too well. It seemed natural as my life went on, after my own battle with prescription medication and alcohol addiction, to try and comfort others in their pain. There wasn’t too much I personally hadn’t been through by the age of 18.
What has been for some time now a taboo subject, counselling is now starting to be thought upon as an EMPOWERING experience. It is not for the weak of faint hearted but for the bold and the strong, the courageous and the humble, to admit that they can’t do it on their own.
Everyone needs someone. Other than addictions, a large contributing factor to our increasing suicide rate is a lack of connectedness and a terrible sense of loneliness.
Many who have come to me for help, have been so racked with shame for the things they have done, often under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that they don’t feel there is a soul in the world they can share their darkest secrets with, but a trusted stranger like myself who has walked down a similar path.
I create an atmosphere of total confidentiality and non-judgemental. For clients in the professional world particularly suffering from the effects of addiction confidentiality is of optimum concern as there is a fear that if found out, they could lose their positions or their reputation in society could be tarnished. This is also the case for husbands or wives of prominent business people as they fear to damage their loved ones reputation in the community. There is also a lot of shame attached. It’s really sad to see someone at the top of their game who has been high profile in their community to spiral downwards and fall into despair.
If we are honest, we are all on a journey and there have been many times in all of our lives where we have stuffed up, or fallen short in one way or another and lived with regret for certain things.
I guess some see it as a type of confession. Where they bear their darkest secrets with a longing to know that despite what they have done, they will still be loved and accepted. Everyone has the right to be forgiven, to forgive others to forgive oneself and move forward.
At the end of the day, the driving force for me is to help change a life. To be a listening ear. A sounding board as such. It gives me such a deep sense of fulfilment and satisfaction, to see someone comes to me in utter despair and let’s face it by the time most people see a therapist they have already hit rock bottom or are close to it and See them walk out with HOPE in their heart knowing that their life can be better, and with a huge weight lifted off their shoulders. Knowing that after all, they are just human and not some alien on a solo journey. I hope this insight brings counselling out of the box. Young, old, rich, poor everyone comes to a point where they just need someone to sit and listen and to do this for someone is my greatest passion.
This week I have been so saddened to hear of 2 young guys on the coast commit suicide. They were both friends of friends of mine.
When I was 18, I planned my suicide. At that moment, A loud voice said (‘don’t do it, if you hang on a bit longer you will find happiness one day’). I listened, I didn’t, and I have. I have found so much happiness. When I used to walk down the street in the midst of the darkest depression I would see people walking together, talking and smiling.
That was all I wanted. Was to feel that joy that I saw on the faces of so many people, yet deep down I was trapped. My soul was in darkness. I wrote this a few years after.
This is for anyone struggling out there with hopelessness. PLEASE HANG ON – HAPPINESS IS on the way.
My life was full of devastation I was going my own way. Continually doing my thing Was never going to pay. My life was spiralling downward My mind out of control. Searching in all the wrong places, for something to make me whole. I thought that I would take my life away, then the voice from heaven, said, hold on for a better day is coming. Will you just stop running, don’t throw your life away. I’l give you the solution And you’ll see a better day. Suicide’s a permanent solution to a problem that is only temporary. If you hold on, and you are strong, you’ll see a BETTER day is coming and it won’t be very long.
If you are feeling alone there are people out there who care. I’m here for anyone that needs someone.
Beyond blue and lifeline are also amazing support.
Feeling sad, angry, fearful?
WANT A MORE POSITIVE LIFE! You can’t control what comes into your head but you CAN control what you do with it after that. If you continually have stinking thinking you will produce negative outcomes in your life. Want positive outcomes? (more…)
DON’T LOSE YOUR TEEN IN THE IN BETWEEN
For more information on this early intervention program, or to know more about the counselling services on offer for family or individual counselling please contact me.