Ways to Thrive As You Recover From Tough Times

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Guest Post by: Melissa Howard from stopsuicide.info

Reaching out

Know that you shouldn’t have to rely wholly on yourself. In order to thrive in your new life, it’s crucial to have a positive support network you can rely on. Counselors, mentors, friends, and family members can all serve as a network to help you when they are feeling vulnerable or alone. 

Repairing broken relationships

As you struggled, you may have been left with damaged relationships. With your recovery, you may find yourself with the overwhelming task of reaching out to those you may have hurt. While not every relationship is salvageable, it’s still possible to mend broken relationships, so don’t lose hope.

Removing triggers

A trigger is anything in your life that initiates the desire to return to negative behavior. When you are in recovery, it’s important to eliminate triggers from your environment that can cause you to slip back into your old ways. Triggers are linked to memories or situations and may include smells, stress, specific people, places, and dates. To remove triggers from your life, you may need to leave old relationships behind, switch careers, or even move to a new area of town. 

In order to begin the process of removing triggers from your home, it’s important to get help. Ask a friend, relative, or professional to assist you in removing everything that you associate with your previous lifestyle. Then, give the space a good cleaning. Scent can be a powerful trigger, so wash all linens, window coverings, and clothes in a new laundry detergent with a different scent than you’re used to.

Rejuvenating your body

Regular physical activity can help those in recovery avoid slipping back to their old ways of life. Vigorous physical activity releases chemicals called endorphins, which alleviate pain and cause feelings of happiness. When you incorporate regular exercise into your routines, you’ll find that you can experience natural joy, decreasing the need to turn to destructive behavior.

Look into practices like meditation, reiki, and yoga to promote the healthy flow of energy through your body. In a nutshell, a balanced flow brings health while an interruption of this flow can bring about illness and the like. By balancing your chakras, you not only heal your body but your life as a whole.

Reinventing yourself

When you’re stuck in a rut, sometimes the best way to pull yourself out is by throwing yourself into an exciting new project. If you have an entrepreneurial side, this could mean starting your own side hustle for supplemental income or even building a business from the ground up. By focusing on a new career move, you’ll be able to channel your energy into something productive.

Know that starting a business means tackling a long to-do list, so you have to be up to the task and challenge. Along with coming up with a unique name for your company, forming an LLC is one of the first items that you can take care of. This is one way to keep your personal assets secure and earn some helpful tax deductions. If you’re not sure how to start this process, connect with a budget-friendly online formation service for assistance.

Yes, you can thrive in health and recovery by keeping in touch with your support network and acknowledging triggers in your lives. Changing your life is a gradual process — it doesn’t happen overnight. But by avoiding triggers, incorporating a healthy lifestyle, and pursuing positive activities, you can pave the way for a successful future. 

Let Studio B Professionals help you along in your journey to recovery. Book a therapy, personal training, nutrition, or wellness coaching session today. 970-422-1761

Your Emotions are Just Information … Use them wisely

Have you ever thought about your emotions as chemical reactions in your body? For many they feel emotions come out of nowhere or are stupid and confusing, but in reality emotions are a source of intelligence and create chemical trails within your body. As a result, emotions shift your physical system and impact physical health structures. 

As a source of intelligence emotions give us information. They are a quicker and often more true source of information than our thinking mind. Those who are both emotionally intelligent and intellectually intelligent come out as the winners in our society. They can discern and utilize information along side reading social cues. This allows them to engage people in their goals and methods as well as make on the spot corrections to their language, presentation focus, and examples. Many studies show that those who invoke emotion during a presentation are viewed more favorably by the audience. Thus their information and call to action may be better remembered and given more importance than those who only present data and reason. 

Every emotion you have creates a chemical – electrical pattern within the body. This chemical electrical pattern is read by your endocrine system. The endocrine system then determines what hormones to move into the system and at what level to keep homeostasis going. Your body is always working to balance you. In contrast, hormones determine what you focus on. Let’s use sex hormones as our examples to help outline how our chemical nature determines our ability to engage with our environment. Before, I get feed back that this is too stereotypical, please remember that we all have differing levels of both testosterone, estrogen and progesterone – male or female, and that having a balanced endocrine system can help decrease many of the mental health issues we experience. For example, Olsson, Kopsida, Sorjonen, and Savic report:

“In sum, our results showed that females treated with testosterone, compared with the placebo, displayed an enhanced tendency to rate low-dominant faces as dominant, and this hampered the ability to accurately attribute mental states to others. In contrast, estrogen administered to males did not affect social–cognitive performance but affected vicarious emotional reactivity”. (p. 520, 2016)

The presence of more or less testosterone has been shown to help us focus on particular emotional states and ignore others. Emotions considered to be low on status help (disgust and sadness) can be more difficult for those with higher testosterone levels to discern, especially at lower levels of intensity (Rukavina et. al, 2018). This may be helpful for those who have high levels of fear and anxiety, as testosterone supplementation can help reduce the responsiveness to these emotional states. However, one must be careful as too much can lead to higher levels of aggression and stress on the cardiovascular system. Remember the “Type A” syndrome of men who have coronary problems midlife? The reactivity in their endocrine system around anger and aggression created stress on their cardic systems. 

In addition, Toffoletto et al. state, 

“Ovarian hormones are pivotal for the physiological maintenance of the brain function as well as its response to environmental stimuli. There is mounting evidence attesting the relevance of endogenous ovarian hormones as well as exogenous estradiol and progesterone for emotional and cognitive processing” (p. 28, 2014). 

In a meta-analysis of over 30 studies looking at fluctuations in female hormones, brain activation, and emotional and cognitive processing they showed how differing levels of endogenous hormones impacted focal points and reactions to social and cognitive stimuli. 

We like to think … we just think, but in reality everything we are is a chemical – electrical pattern inter-woven into our core being. It is both a physical and a cognitive process. Last week we looked closely at our thoughtsand saw that what we think influences how we feel (physically and mentally). This week we flip to recognize that how we feel influences how we think. And how we feel is moderated by what is going on around us and inside of us. It is so important to care for your body. By looking at our differing sex hormones we see that we may over or under react to external factors based on levels of hormones in our physical system. We didn’t decide to focus more on one or the other, it is what our body mandated. As a result, we can shift how our bodies are operating by caring well for ourselves on a physical and mental level. 

We need to pay attention to things like good foods – we need the nutrientsto make the neurotransmitters and hormones we need to calm our nervous systems and help our brain activate areas needed for particular focus. 

We need daily movementas it helps us metabolize stress hormones effectively and helps us make the feel good states our endorphins and endocannaboids can provide. We are calm and alert, but not overly focused or hyper vigilant – neither are helpful for intelligence states, learning, relationship, or creativity. 

We need positive sleep and enough of it. Sleep helps our system reset and restore. Without it we are shortening our telomeres and shortening our lives. Sleep helps make sure our physical structure has what it needs, and as we saw above we need our physical structures to operate well for us to modulate where our attention goes. 

We need solid, strong, and positive relationships. By cultivating good social relationships we activate our interpersonal dependance system which helps us regulate well, builds our brains, and helps maintain our grounding in present moment situations. It helps us to check-in and check ourselves when one of the above self-regulators is off. 

So today, stop thinking about your emotions as random things that happen to you and take control of this powerful system by feeding yourself well (good self-regulation about all you allow into your system and your environment) and activating the ability to gather the intelligence your emotions give you through your chemical – electrical system. Then use that intelligence to act on those influences doing just what is needed in this moment, based on the moment you are in, not the one you wish you were.

Once you get the information and act upon it, emotions dissipate and you do not have to carry them forward as evidence of past experiences. They are just informational pieces to be used right now, help you survive your experiences, and connect deeply to what is around you. They are not the enemy, they are just information. Use them wisely. 

References:

Bos, P. A., Hofman, D., Hermans, E. J., Montoya, E. R., Baron-Cohen, S., & van Honk, J. (2016). Testosterone reduces functional connectivity during the ‘Reading the mind in the eyes’ test.Psychoneuroendocrinology, 68, 194-201. doi:http://dx.doi.org.tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2016.03.006

Olsson, A., Kopsida, E., Sorjonen, K., & Savic, I. (2016). Testosterone and estrogen impact social evaluations and vicarious emotions: A double-blind placebo-controlled study.Emotion, 16(4), 515-523. doi:http://dx.doi.org.tcsedsystem.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/a0039765

Rukavina, S., Sachsenweger, F., Jerg-Bretzke, L., Daucher, A., Traue, H., Walter, S., & Hoffmann, H. (2018). Abstract: Testosterone and its influence on emotion recognition in young, healthy males. Psychology,09(07), 1814-1827. doi:10.4236/psych.2018.97106 

Toffoletto, S., Lanzenberger, R., Gingnell, M., Sundström-Poromaa, I., & Comasco, E. (2014). Emotional and cognitive functional imaging of estrogen and progesterone effects in the female human brain: A systematic review. Psychoneuroendocrinology,50, 28-52. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.07.025

Graphic Credit: https: Tampa Therapy.//goo.gl/images/fnuwCX