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Get outside Raleigh!

Depression and stress can leave you wanting to stay inside, crawl in a hole and isolate. You may not "feel" like you want to do anything, but you can choose to do different. And often by choosing the opposite of what you are feeling, you'll begin to feel better. Depression says to you, "stay inside, don't do anything fun, nothing will help, it's hopeless." Stress says, "there's too much, it's all too overwhelming, nothing will help." And thus discouragement sets in. I encourage my clients seeking counseling to get outside; get some good Vitamin D (but wear sunscreen)! :) Choose to be active. Don't let your feelings decide what you will or will not do. Do something new, something fun; get around people. Take some friends, a family member or your significant other and do something outside. This weekend in downtown Raleigh's Moore Square and City Plaza is a great event called Artsplosure. There is art, crafts, music and fun stuff for kids too! Try something new, tap into some creative energy seeing all the fun art and crafts. I hope you'll get outside this weekend Raleigh!

Change Your Mind

We often don't realize the power of our thoughts. But they are quite powerful. Our thoughts impact our feelings and our feelings often impact our behavior. Typically we get wrapped up in our emotions and let them lead the way. But we have the ability to control our thought life. We don't control automatic thoughts (the initial thought that comes popping into our minds) but we have the ability to control all the thoughts after that. We can tell ourselves rational and positive things that lead to our negative emotions decreasing and lead to an increase in positive feelings. Learning to control your thoughts will greatly impact your feelings and your overall mood. Counseling can be a great tool to teach you ways to become aware of your thoughts and learn ways to control negative thinking and increase positive thinking. A great way to start doing this on your own is to check-in with your thoughts 3 times a day for a week. During this check-in, write down what you are thinking for a few minutes 3 times a day. Then at the end of the week, take a look at your writings. I bet you find themes that you are thinking about or topics that appear frequently and often you'll find yourself to be thinking irrational, negative things. Write down positive alternative thoughts to the negative thoughts and then 3 times a day for the following week, read those. You will likely notice that you will begin to think less of the irrational, negative thoughts and more frequently think of the rational, positive thoughts that you were feeding yourself! Try it and see. For more information on this topic, you can read this article I wrote about anxiety and your thought life.