Unhappy? Stressed? Feeling Lost? Try This Therapeutic Technique #personalgrowth #mentalhealth



helen keller #happiness #life

A Self-Help Therapeutic Technique

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you confused about what you want out of life? Are you stressed out but you don’t know why? Let me introduce you to a technique I often used with my clients.

I was a mental health therapist for over a decade. I have a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.

Kimberly– Chief blogger

Often, we are so caught up in the day-to-day stresses of life that we lose sight of what we want in life. We lose sight of why we’re working that second job, or why we argue with our spouse, or why we dread going home. Constructing a vision of our perfect day often helps identify what we want, what we need, what we’re missing, or what’s causing us emotional distress.

What do I mean when I say “constructing a vision of our perfect day“? It’s simple. I {as the therapist} ask you to tell me what your perfect day would look like. What would you do during your perfect day? Who would you spend time with {if anyone}? Where would you go?

Here’s an example of an answer to the perfect day question {told in second person}:

 

The sun starts shining through your curtains as you open your eyes after a peaceful night of sleep. You feel refreshed and energized. The warmth of the shining sun soothes your soul and feels good on your skin. You get out of bed humming your favorite song. You realize that today is your day. The day is all about you.

You get dressed and discover a $20 bill in your pants pocket. Spending money for the day. Your clothes fit perfectly and you’re having a perfect hair day. You didn’t cut yourself while shaving and your makeup is flawless. Your teeth are beacons of white light and perfectly shaped. Your skin glows from within and you notice in the mirror that you look happy, energized, and youthful.

Since today is your day, you decide to eat breakfast at your favorite restaurant. The hostess greets you by name and tells you how happy she is to see you. You order your favorite indulgent meal. Today, you don’t worry about calories because you know you won’t gain a pound. The lighting in the restaurant casts a nostalgic glow. You feel loved and satisfied.

You get in your car and drive with the windows open. The humidity is low and the temperature is perfect. The sky is blue and the clouds are so fluffy and white that you smile. You look in your rear-view mirror and notice that your hair is windswept across your face, giving you a “I don’t have a care in the world” appearance.

You see the mountains peaking at you up ahead. They are saluting your presence and glisten as if they are happy to see you. The golden-yellow sunflowers dance in the wind and look like they’re waving to you. They sway back and forth in unison and send their subtle sweet scent your way. The scent reminds you of a time in your childhood when you felt loved.

You wind your way up the mountain and you feel the air becoming crisper and crisper. The bright red orbs in the orchards stimulate a sense of calm as the familiar smell of apples overwhelms you. Complete bliss. Mom’s apple pie. Hugs. Love. Peace.

On your way home, all of the traffic lights are green. There are no fender benders and you notice just how much you like driving. The freedom you feel is exhilirating.

As you gas your car up, you notice that the price of gas went down. That doesn’t matter because you have plenty of money. While you’re waiting for your gas tank to fill, you receive a text message from your husband. His message reads “I can’t wait to get home tonight and cuddle on the couch with you. I’m picking up your favorite Mexican food for dinner. See you in an hour. I love you to the moon and back.” A warm feeling fills your heart and you feel as if you will burst from the inside out.

You walk through your front door and see your husband’s smiling face. He reminds you of George Clooney. The house is clean and the intoxicating spices from the Mexican food delight your senses. It’s an end to a perfect day….

——————————————————————————————————————————————————–

As a therapist, I detect significant patterns:

  • feelings of love
  • food
  • physical appearance
  • money
  • environment

This would lead me to ask the writer of the story:

  • Do you feel loved in your life?
  • What role does food play in your life {other than basic nourishment}?
  • Are you struggling with poor self esteem? Do you think you are attractive? Lovable? Deserve love?
  • Are you having money difficulties? What does money mean to you?
  • Are you happy where you live? Do you wish you lived somewhere else? With someone else?

Based on the answers to the above questions, the client and I would identify problem areas in their life. We would then work on solutions so he/she can make changes and lead a more fulfilling life. A fulfilling life means less stress, more happiness. It may sound corny but it’s totally true. People are miserable when they feel unfulfilled.

If you’d like to try this technique yourself to help identify issues you may not be aware, ask yourself the perfect day question and write your answers in a journal or on your computer. Let the words flow. Try not to filter what you write. Then examine your words to see if you notice any patterns in your story. If you don’t notice any patterns, set your words aside and revisit in 48 hours.

If you’re unhappy, stressed, and/or feeling lost, identifying the issues triggering these feelings is the first step. Defining what you want and don’t want in your life is the next step. Finally, form a plan of action. Slowly make changes in your problem areas so your desired life matches your current life.

Before you know it, you’ll feel less stressed, more focused, and happier. Aren’t these the basics that we all want?

 

Disclaimer:  Although I am a licensed mental health professional, I am not your mental health professional. The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional if you experience chronic feelings of sadness or emptiness.

Kimberly--Blog Owner

Kimberly is the owner and editor of Saving More Than Me.  She started blogging in 2009–one year after receiving a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. She lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and five fur kids. If you’d like to learn more about Kimberly {including what subjects her Master’s degrees are in}, click here.

Kimberly--Blog Owner

Kimberly--Blog Owner

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this article. I am going to make a journal with an entry called my perfect day to try to identify what stresses me out and the triggers. Thanks again for the tips.

  2. Wow you make it sound so easy. I really need to work on making myself happier. I have been struggling with my Fibromyalgia for the last couple months. when I go through major pain bouts it is very difficult to feel happy. Thanks for the tips. I am going to try and envision a perfect day each morning. That hopefully will help reduce my stress level.

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