Therapy is a place where you examine yourself and your beliefs, experiences, feelings, and actions. Your therapist assists you in slowing down and being aware of your thoughts and feelings in order to guide you to more preferred ways of being in the world and in relationship with others. Once you leave the therapy room, the insights you gain should follow you into your daily life. If you find that you struggle to maintain the sense of thoughtfulness or self-awareness that you attain in therapy throughout your day-to-day life, here are a few strategies you can adopt.
- Spend 5 minutes checking in with yourself each day. The hour you spend in therapy each week is just that, only one hour in the many during your week. You can continue the thread of self-awareness you build during therapy throughout your week by committing to doing just 5 minutes a day of checking in with yourself. Perhaps you meditate for a few minutes. A simple body scan can also be effective; bringing your awareness to how each of your body parts feels, if and where you are carrying stress, etc. Keeping track of how you are doing on a regular basis can extend the benefits of therapy into your daily life.
- Journal. We know that putting thoughts down on paper can reduce the power they have over us. Perhaps at the end of each day you write down your worries, close the journal, and put it (and the worries) away in a drawer for the night. Sometimes just a stream-of-thought journal entry can assist us in clarifying complicated thoughts or deepening our understanding of ourselves. Take time each week to journal. You can even bring these entries into therapy with you each week to help you focus (or expand!) your work with your therapist.
- Share your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust. Therapy is a wonderful place to explore yourself, but one of the many benefits of therapy is that it can help you to communicate who you really are to those around you. Let the work you do in therapy extend into your daily life by sharing your new insights with someone you love and trust. Take new risks and be vulnerable with this person!
By: Rachel Goldsmith, MS, MA