Sometimes things seem beyond our control and if given the opportunity to change them, we might feel like life could get a whole lot better.  The real test in determining how to start making changes is identifying if the changes are realistic and if there truly are ways to make these wishes come true.


Facing Fear

Things can get pretty scary when we think about what we fear the most.  What we might not realize is how much energy we spend thinking about these fears and how much they interfere with our goals.  When we are determining how to start making changes,we always have choices in what we do: Avoidance, Acceptance or Adjustment.  Identifying steps necessary to combat our fears can help us break down these monumental tasks, allow us to feel more in control of our reactions, and better able to invest in those things we want to happen instead of focusing on those things we don’t want to happen.

Deal with it

Stress happens!  Often we focus on the negative thoughts running rampant in our heads and the rotten feelings that go with them.  We then make unhealthy choices to reinforce how bad we are feeling.  Taking a moment to combat these negative thoughts and feelings with more positive ones can help to reduce our need to follow with unhealthy behaviors.


Depression can seem like something that won’t happen to us.  When we avoid dealing with issues, we can find ourselves isolating from friends, feeling physically sick, and doing things that might have seemed a bit crazy (like self harm, drinking or using drugs) to help us get through these tough times.  When we are determining how to start making changes, it is important to recognize these warning signs.  It is also important to identify trusted people we can talk to that will hear what we are saying while leaving their judgments at home.

Chill Out

We all get stressed.  Sometimes we deal with it better than other times.  Sometimes our “normal” tricks don’t seem to work anymore.  Learning how to relax can help us tolerate situations and to reflect on healthier ways to manage our feelings.  Practice breathing…while it may seem like common sense, inhaling and exhaling to a count of 5 can reduce our impulse to ramp up our stress.  Focus on identifying tension in our bodies and work to “hold ” it and then “release” it as you breathe, noticing the changes in your body.  Music is also a good background for increasing your ability to relax….but make sure you are listening to something that doesn’t amp up the emotion…try classical music or yoga tunes to aid in focusing your mind to chill out.

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHC

Stephanie Phillips, LCMHCS, NCC, CCTP
Psychotherapist & Owner
The Mindly Group, PLLC