black therapist murrieta

Could gratitude help your anxiety?

One of my favorite sayings is "When you focus on the past, you get depressed. When you focus on the future, you feel anxious. But when you focus on the present, you will be okay." And it really is true. If you have anxiety, you probably spend a good amount of time thinking about the things that could go wrong with your day or worrying about how you are going to handle different situations. In some cases, the worry becomes so awful that it weighs you down and your thoughts just don't stop. Anxiety could also trigger muscle aches and tightness in your neck, shoulders and back. Some people worry so much that they end up with ulcers.

But what if I told you that focusing on the things you're grateful for could probably reduce your anxiety a little bit? You see, when your mind is filled with worry, it can quickly spiral into anxiety, and full blown anxiety can be tough to kick.

The first step is to get yourself a little notebook. Just something light that you can keep by your bed side or carry around with you. Some people like notebooks with encouraging quotes on them or pictures of peaceful scenes. Those are fine too. Each day, when you wake up, think about one thing that you are grateful for. It can be as simple as the trees in your yard, clean, running water, or the yummy sandwich you ate for dinner the night before. I'm sure you're thinking "This sounds too easy." Well it's not super easy if you're used to worrying about everything that could go wrong and beating yourself up for the things you messed up on. But gratitude is truly a practice that gets easier with time. I call it a practice because it takes works. Naturally, most of us would rather focus on the bad-like a glass half empty kind of situation. But make yourself think up something different each day.

Does this mean that you should never think about the things that are going wrong in your life? No. But honestly how many problems have you fixed by thinking about them 100 times a day? What you should focus on is what you can do in the moment to make the problem better, rather than just reminding yourself that you have a problem. The truth is that majority of the fears you have will never come true. So don't bother spending all of your energy wondering if something bad will happen to you. 

Use your energy wisely. Use it for gratitude and use it to actually solve a problem. If you cannot solve the problem, then use your resources. Find someone who can either help you or introduce you to somehow who will help. Try using gratitude for 30 days and you'll see how different your life will be after a month.

And if you are a woman who still struggles with anxiety, but you just don't know how to manage it on your own, consider seeking therapy. Sometimes a trained, neutral party is who you need to get you from anxious to calm. If you are near the Temecula/Murrieta area, you can click here to schedule a free 15 minute consultation call. We will talk about your struggles and how we can work together to get you from anxious to calm and in control. I also provide online therapy within California if you live too far away from my office or you would just rather be in the comfort of your own home when we work together.

Fears About Therapy

Your life has been in turmoil for a while. Maybe you and your spouse have been yelling daily or you're getting increasingly frustrated with the kids. You know you are unhappy. You've struggled for months and you can't seem to reach out for the help that you need. You've looked up therapy or counseling online, but you haven't had the courage to actually call a therapist.

 Here are the reasons why some people hesitate to call a therapist:

 1) Therapy means I'm crazy: Well not really. No one ever said that counseling was for "Crazy people." Therapy actually works great for people who are coherent enough to understand what the therapist is saying and can actually follow through with some of the homework given. Therapy isn't for the "Crazy," just like going to the doctor isn't for the comatose. Therapy is helpful for people who are willing to look at a different perspective and try something new. When you're stuck in old patterns, it much the time to call someone to help you get unstuck.

 2) People are going to laugh if they know I'm in therapy: Your therapist will definitely not be telling people about you. It's the law. Actually, if I see you at the store, I will walk right by you- that is unless you address me first. Now it's not because I'm ashamed of you, it's because I'm protecting your confidentiality. I do not tell anyone about you, that is of course unless you sign a form giving me permission to do so. So if your friend walks into my office and asks about you, I'll be saying to him or her "I cannot confirm or deny that I know her."

 Please note that in some instances California law actually mandates that we make a report. These instances are child abuse, dependent adult abuse and elder abuse. We also have to report if you are a danger to yourself or others. Plus you don't have to tell anyone that you're in therapy. It's YOUR business and you reserve the right to keep it to yourself.

 3) A therapist can't help me: Well, you wouldn't know unless you tried. Unless you actually picked up the phone to talk to a therapist, you'll never know if there is hope. A therapist might be able to help you, but if you don't call, they'll definitely not be able to do anything for you.

 4) Therapy will bring up painful memories: Well sometimes therapy does bring up memories we thought we had long forgotten. That is very true. But not always. Sometimes we need to dig up the dirt in order to lay the foundation. For a plant to bloom, its seed has to be buried in the soil for a while. After some time spent in the darkness, it springs out of the soil and makes its way up to become a beautiful flower. If this is a concern for you, definitely address it with your therapist. Don't let this stop you from seeking help. When we ignore our pain, it'll affect us negatively.

 5) The therapist will judge me: Well, let me speak for myself. I've had so many people come in to see me for literally thousands of hours that I really have no desire to judge you. Judging you will actually stand in the way of me doing my job. When I'm sitting across from you, I listen, I highlight patterns of behavior, I look for strengths, and then I try to challenge you to come up with solutions. If I spent my time judging you, I'd be completely useless to you. I serve as your guide, not your critic.

 6) Therapy is too expensive: Many people don't see therapy as an investment in themselves, rather, they see it as a luxury. Sometimes you might have to forgo other things in order to save up for therapy. If you spend time getting your nails and hair done regularly, you might be able to afford therapy. But think about it this way- just like you invest in a home to make memories forever, or a vacation to spend amazing family time, your mental health is super important and might take some sacrifices on your part so that you can shed the unhealthy, anxious parts of you. Would you rather spend money to heal old wounds or scrimp and continue to carry the baggage around?

And if saving and sacrificing is completely out of the picture for you, then contact your health insurance company to see if you could find a therapist who will take your insurance. Please note that when your therapist bills your insurance, your insurance company will have some of your information and your therapist will also be giving you a mental health diagnosis. So your information doesn't just stay between you and your therapist- it'll be shared with a third party. 

Are there any other fears you've had that have stopped you from seeking counseling? 

If you are searching for a therapist or counselor in Murrieta or somewhere nearby, and you'd like a free 15 minute phone consultation, call me on 951-905-3181. It's time to stop the anxiety and finally find your calm.