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I need help!

It’s okay to not feel okay.

When you’re swept away in that emotional storm, and your body is in the fight flight and freeze response, it becomes difficult to see any solutions or way forward.

Your body and mind are too busy trying to do what they do best – Survive

If you drop your anchor while that storm rages, you can become an observer instead of joining in. In the role of an observer you are in the position to watch, with curiosity and without judgement. The aim is to move your attention away from the content of any anxious and self-critical thoughts.

These techniques can be used when you’re feeling overwhelmed or when helping someone else manage their own emotional storm.

What one thing could you experiment with and get good at before the storm?

1. Be mindful – Practice moving your attention and being present in the moment. Focus your attention on what you know right now. Engaging your senses to what you can see, hear, smell, taste or feel. Which of your senses is the strongest? You can practice building on this skill, for example, if your hearing is your strongest sense then you can focus your attention on one sound. Tune out of the background noise and focus purely on this one sound for a minute. Now tune in to another sound and focus purely on that one. Try then moving your attention between these two sounds. Your mind might try to interrupt, which is what our minds are good at, so just bring your attention back to the sounds. Practice this two or three times a day when you are not feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Ground yourself in the present moment.

2. Be present and notice – what physically and emotionally are you experiencing, what message is your mind and body trying to give you, what needs are not being met? What needs to change?

3. What is the bigger picture? – Be aware of what your emotional mind is saying in response to the storm. What are you reacting to? What is the worst that can happen? Tune in to your rational mind – what advice could you give to a friend in the same situation? What evidence is there to support what you think might happen? Have you felt like this before and have gotten through it? What are the consequences of your reaction to the emotional mind? When considering both your emotional and rational mind, what is the best solution for you and others in this situation?

4. Be curious – listen to that message and begin to notice whether you are avoiding or whether you need to approach. It might feel uncomfortable approaching when your body and mind are giving you the message to avoid. What direction is your response leading you and what would you like to be doing instead? For example, overcoming avoiding parties from fear of judgement because you really would like to go and spend time with friends.

5. Lean into your strengths – recognise what you have achieved and accomplished in the past, what mistakes can you learn from, list your positive attributes and give evidence of when you have acted that way. Build your self-esteem and resilience to bounce back.

6. What values do you want to live by each day – for example, kind, compassionate, helpful, confident, adventurous, a good listener. Make a list and choose two or three to live by each day, in each moment as best you can.

7. What goals will you work towards to make that change? Approaching and welcoming change is not easy. Break it down in to smaller, realistic and achievable steps. What’s the first step toward that goal? What, who, when, and how will they and yourself help you succeed to grow and flourish?

How CBT can help?

Working together we can help you increase your awareness of unhelpful thoughts you are having, and how they are impacting negatively on your behaviour. This process then allows you to challenge those thoughts so that you can create more balanced and positive changes in your life.

The therapy itself is short-term, working towards goals for positive change. The techniques you learn will support you going forward in reducing the impact anxiety and feelings of overwhelm has on your life.

If you would like to talk more about how CBT can help you, please contact me at or use the contact form at the bottom of my home page.

Edited picture from Image by Gerd Altmann @ Pixabay


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