Your Self-Talk Matters: Using Positive Affirmations to Regulate Overwhelming Emotions
Blog post written by,
Carolina Gaviria, LMHC, NCC, CEDS-S
Instagram campaign and slide show attached by Allison Ford, M.S
Registered Intern for Mental health Counselor Licensure
The holiday season can be an exciting time for many but a very stressful time for others, especially when you struggle with anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, alcohol or substance abuse problem, another type of mental illness or simply don’t get along with your family. This can increase a sense of stress that can overpower the magic of the season. Therefore, it is important to have a few ways to cope during family functions and other social gatherings so you can have a more mindful and self-supportive holiday.
There are different ways to regulate one’s emotions. They vary from using coping strategies like breathing and progressive relaxation techniques to aromatherapy and healthy distractions. However, uncovering our inner dialogue as difficult situations arise will provide you with some awareness into the unhelpful and self-critical thinking patterns that tend to increase stress and anxiety in your life. Some unhelpful thoughts might be connected to self-judgements and statements that make you feel like a victim of a situation and blaming the people around you for how you feel. They tend to lead to you feeling disempowered and overwhelmed. How do we challenge these unhelpful thoughts? Each unhelpful thought requires a positive affirmation to neutralize its effect. In summary, “words of affirmation” have the power to change the way we feel.
We often hear about using positive affirmations to encourage ourselves and calm ourselves down, but positive affirmations are so much more than just “feel good quotes” and positive statements that we use during times of despair or to pump up our self-esteem before a nerve-racking event. Over time, they have the power of changing the way our brains are wired (Davis, M., Eshelman, E. R., & McKay, M.). We can use them as a way to connect with ourselves and others in a different way, a kinder and more compassionate way. The more connected we are with ourselves and our inner dialogue, the more we are able to intentionally manage stressful situations and boundaries that may arise.
An example of unhelpful thoughts and how we can use positive affirmations might be:
Polarized and blame charged thought: “You always make me feel inadequate” ---> “I’m ok as I am.”
Self-judgment and mind reading: “I’m such a shy person. Everyone thinks I’m awkward.” ---> “People have different ways to be social and that’s ok.”
"I can't" unhelpful thought: “Parties are overwhelming and stressful. I can’t deal with them.” ---> “I enjoy social gatherings and leave when my internal thermometer indicates that I’ve had enough social interaction.”
By using positive affirmations, we increase our sense of flexibility and self-compassion and decrease feelings that get in the way of being able to cope and enjoy experiences. We hope you take some time to identify the thoughts that you want to change and create some affirmations that can support you during the holiday season. We invite you to visit our Instagram @home_for_balance for more examples, tips and tools of how you can make affirmations part of your daily practice. The attachment below also contains some positive affirmations you can use to support your wellbeing and fully enjoy this holiday season.
Reference: Davis, M., Eshelman, E. R., & McKay, M. (2008). The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook (6th ed.). New Harbinger Publications.
CAROLINA GAVIRIA, LMHC, NCC, CEDS Eating Disorders, Addictions, and Trauma Specialist (EMDR Certified)
Please give me a call today for a FREE 30-minute phone consult at 561.305.2497, I’d be happy to provide more information about my services and discuss setting up a session! For more information about my services, you can also visit my website at www.solutionsintherapy.com or email me at email@example.com. I look forward to speaking with you!
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ALLISON FORD, M.S
Registered Intern for Mental Health Counselor Licensure
I'm interested in working with individuals who struggle with depression and anxiety as well as with couples. For a FREE phone consultation and more information about nutritional counseling, please call me directly at 561.600.1424 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Services available in person and online.