Let the sun shine in …

In the springtime we are often inspired to do a deep clean around our home and shake-off the cobwebs and dust from the winter months. Perhaps it is the longer days, birds chirping, or the spring flowers starting to bloom that put an extra hop in our step.

Whatever your motivation – this is also a good time to “spring clean” our mental and emotional spaces and do away with the mental debris that is no-longer serving you. Whether you notice it or not, the limiting beliefs, skewed expectations or negative internal dialogue influence every aspect of your life.

1. Start a Journal
Writing can be extremely therapeutic, especially for survivors of suicide loss. Writing helps to articulate your thoughts, clears emotional space, provides a different perspective, and may help your emotions seem more manageable.

According to PsychCentral, The Health Benefits of Journaling, “… removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you.”

Don’t worry about punctuation or spelling – just start. And keep your journal private so you can write free of censoring.

2. Pay Attention to Emotional Pain
If you are in emotional pain and not able to effectively deal with or move past it, seek support. Just as you would treat a physical injury, we need to tend to psychological wounds.

This can be achieved through one-on-one counselling or by joining local therapy groups. We have a number of resources on our site for those in crisis or who are survivors of suicide loss.

3. Stop Negative Internal Dialogue
We are often far harder on ourselves than others. We would never speak to a family member or friend the way we speak to ourselves. Dwelling on past mistakes or getting caught in a cycle of negative thinking can put you at risk for depression, anxiety or a host of other ailments.

Be aware of the patterns of negative thinking or self-criticism and look for ways to forgive your faults, choose self-acceptance, and change your internal dialogue. If you can’t think of something to say to yourself that is kind, think of what a loving parent, partner or friend might say to you if they heard you criticizing yourself.

One way to end the cycle of negative dialogue is to practice self-compassion. Researchers believe self-compassion can reduce depression, anxiety and social isolation. Check out this resource on CASP’s website, Every Person’s Guide to Self Compassion to learn more.

4. Emotional Resiliency
The Canadian Mental Health Association defines resiliency as “being in good health means more than feeling physically well; it also means feeling mentally well.” We couldn’t agree more. This is your emotional immune system; it protects you through difficult times and helps you to bounce back. Perhaps one of the most beneficial life skills we can all develop.

Positive self-esteem, confidence, the ability to set goals and realistic optimism are corner stones to having resilience. Monitor and safeguard your self-esteem and confidence daily by avoiding negative self-talk and giving it a boost when it’s low.

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