Welcome

Hi, I’m Christina…Welcome to Therapy Things!

To be honest I procrastinated on writing this first blog post because I struggled with creating a perfect introduction that captured sooo perfectly everything about this blog and why I chose to do it…

But how to do things perfectly is not what I am here for ( I am by no means an expert at how to do things perfectly)…

Perfection isn’t necessary for you to finally show up in your life… or for you to begin to love yourself.

Therapy Things is about….

Empowerment and sharing ways to help you:

  • create a space for self love
  • cultivate thriving relationships
  • enhance your experiences in the day to day moments that ultimately make up your life!

Journaling. Mindfulness and All things therapy…

Journaling…

Is such a great way to get to know yourself, your hopes, your fears and can be such a powerful/therapeutic practice. Journaling has been a self-care practice of mine since before I really knew what “self-care” was. Twice a week (maybe more) I will post for you a journal prompt to encourage and help you dive further into your own self love journey!

Mindfulness…

Yes, it is definitely the buzzword these days!… but as a Marriage and Family Therapist trainee  one of the most important things I have learned ( in my own life as well as in therapy sessions with my clients) is that presence is necessary for connection, and connection is vital to healthy thriving relationships. I will share with you mindfulness practices and exercises that can help you to be more present and improve your relationships (with YOURSELF as well as others).

All Things Therapy….

It has been my passion to help create a space and share with others ways to improve their mental health, emotional well- being , relationships and reach their full potential in life&love. I look forward to sharing with you articles, resources and books around relationships, mental health, and self care! Look out for my “Reading List” section for some of my favorite books that I think are definitely worth reading on topics related to:

  • Psychology
  • Relationships
  • Self Care/ Self Love
  • Mindfulness
  • Performance/Flow

I’ll also share with you some of my notes and highlights from the books I have read  on the Reading List.

Thank you for sharing this space and I hope that you continue to join me here!

Christina DeLosAngeles

I imagine a world where we experience a sense of aliveness and vitality in our relationships. The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives-Esther Perel

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3 Things To Do Before(or after)Your Therapy Sessions

If you are in therapy or planning to go …here are 3 simple things that can benefit your #innerwork sessions… Try these before or after your therapy sessions:

  1. Drink water– In therapy you are most likely doing a lot of exploring your inner experiences/emotions and staying hydrated can be really helpful for a lot of reasons …for one being hydrated helps to increase energy and cognitive functioning…decreasing that brain fog…Secondly, If you are drinking water you are most likely urinating more and eliminating toxins and waste from the body – including the stress hormone cortisol…I always remind my clients (especially after a emotionally heavy session) to drink lots of water (sweat, tears and urine are ways we release!). Also, If you are already dealing with  some anxiety or before/during or after sessions you especially want to make sure its water you are drinking before or after sessions versus coffee or tea or any other caffeinated beverage.
  2. Move your body– We know that emotions = energy in motion…and our physical body is the container through which emotions travel. Moving your body with intention while doing a mind body practice such as dance, yoga, qi gong (my personal new favorite practice!) tai chi….may be helpful in grounding yourself and connecting to your body (which is so helpful when doing the inner work of connecting with our emotions). Its all about doing what works for you and paying attention to your body and what you need. So for instance, if working out helps you to wind down or to de-stress then maybe do that..but if it makes you more anxious then maybe try something more like a meditation to slow your body and mind down.
  3. Are you willing to be uncomfortable

3.Gratitude practice– thank yourself for investing your time and energy into doing the inner work, healing, exploring your inner experiences and cultivating self awareness-only you can do that for you- show yourself some appreciation for showing up!

Hydrate.Move.Connect. 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts, if this was helpful & if you’d like to sharewhat #therapythings you practice or after sessions that has positively impacted your #innerwork process!

 

~Christina

 

 

 

 

 

6 Tips to Setting Intentions As A Couple..

Building a life together can be exciting especially when a couple’s vision, commitment and love come together…

Setting intentions as a couple can have a lot of benefits to the quality of your relationship, communication, helps build intimacy + can be a lot of fun to do..

Here are 5 tips to help you and your partner set intentions for your relationship together:

1. Make it a date💕. Be intentional about setting aside the time like you would a date night. Order your favorite food, going to your favorite coffee shop or finding a place with a nice view can make it even more inspiring…

2. Start with gratitude and reflection. Share with your partner what you most appreciate about them this year.

When reflecting on the following aspects of your relationship: connection, communication, conflict resolution, finances, spiritual, sex, trust, health…

Here are some questions to help get you started:

  • What were the highlights in our relationship this year ?
  • What did we overcome?
  • Favorite dates, activities or events?
  • When did we feel the most connected ?
  • What areas could we improve on ?
  • What were the most challenging areas of the relationship this year?

3. Write down your top 3. What are your top three values and discuss how you will express them as a couple in the year to come.

4. Clarity is key! Whether your intention is to buy a home, be more connected, or travel..whatever your intention as a couple is create a vision for it including how you want to feel, what you want it to look like and the work or steps needed to get there…

5. Make it visible. Whether you write your intentions and goals down on a piece of paper or you get fancy and make a vision board 💁🏽‍♀️.. put it up somewhere where it will be seen daily to keep the focus and excitement alive !

6. End with gratitude for each other and the time + commitment you have taken to be intentional in building a life you both love together ❤️

May your new year as a couple be filled with your intentions +connection and meaningful memories 💫

Why I chose to take a seat on the couch…

By that I mean why I go to therapy.

I’ve been asked the questions….

“Why do YOU need to go to therapy? What’s wrong? You provide therapy cant you do it for yourself?”

Here are my top 5 reasons why I see a therapist .. (and why it’s become one of my favorite self care practices)

1.To unplug… for an entire hour .from my phone, from others, from work or any kind of outside distractions. Pure ME time… I’ll be honest I’m a master at keeping myself busy .. so this is perfect for creating time and space to be still.

2. To practice self awareness. This is fun (sometimes uncomfortable) as well as liberating. I get to take time to get to know Myself better….my inner child, my shadow (shadow is a part of yourself you have suppressed, not necessarily a “bad” part of you) & the many different parts of myself…with the help of my therapist, who without judgment, provides a safe container for me to be curious, explore, process and build a better relationship with myself…

Cultivating this relationship with myself is so important to me…loving myself is priority (it hasn’t always been).

why it’s so important is because it shapes my relationship with others…. and as it’s been said the quality of our relationships effects the quality of our lives … especially the relationship we have with self .

3. To challenge myself & grow. I appreciate the challenging questions my therapist asks, the ones that I sometimes avoid, and the silence he allows for me to sit with it and do the inner work. Silence is powerful for many reasons ( blog post of its own)

4. Clarity. It’s nice to be able to kind of unpack all of the mind & emotional clutter, sift through, sit with it, discard what no longer serves me and gain some clarity on the meaning of it all. Not to mention I have a lot of ambitions, ideas, dreams and talking about them helps to prioritize and develop them.

5. I believe in the work that I do. It’s part of my job as a therapist to do my own work. It helps me to show up more aligned, grounded and self aware. It allows me to stay present and hold space for others.

Most importantly…. my marriage, my relationship with my children and loved ones benefit from my decision to practice self care and self improvement in this way.

I hope this encourages you to continue loving yourself and doing your own inner work.. you are worth it 💕

Therapy is also for…

Therapy.

Who is it for???

I hear it all the time… this idea that therapy is only for those who suffer from mental illness, that only people who have “issues” see a therapist… people who are “unstable”….

The truth is…therapy IS for those who are suffering with mental health problems and difficult times…therapy is ALSO for any person who would like to:

  • practice self care–  you get an hour of “me time” ..where its literally all about YOU! You also get to unplug from the technology, the distractions and step away from the to do list for a moment and breathe.
  • turn good relationships into GREAT relationships– therapy is a place where we learn how to deepen connections with ourself and others. The better the quality of your relationships ( all of them) the better quality of life! Your marriage doesn’t have to be in shambles, your child  doesn’t have to be in conflict with you all the time,  you don’t have to be lacking self esteem to benefit from therapy.  You can learn new ways to connect and ways to strengthen your relationship even when its good!
  • practice self awareness- knowing ourselves is how we build a loving relationship with ourself. This is key, because all of our other relationships can benefit from a healthy relationship with ourself.
  • “Awareness is the greatest agent for change”-Eckhart Tolle

  • goal setting/intention setting– You can learn how to set goals and intentions in therapy and learn skills and techniques that support you in moving towards your goal(s).
  • explore/discover your passion in life!

Therapy is a space where the practice of self awareness, self love and growth are nurtured simultaneously. Therapy is not just for getting through the tough times its for supporting you to thrive!

If you really want to help.. listen

Ever feel that empty feeling when your partner, child or friend comes to you with something they are dealing with and you want to fix it .. but don’t know how or can’t?

Even as a therapist, this is something I experience, not having a solution… but I have learned that a solution is more often not what people are looking for in that moment … often they already know the answer deep down inside  … but they are looking for a safe space to be heard and understood.

So, if you want to know how to best help someone who has come to you .. first, just listen 👂 and hold space. Here are some tips on how to actively listen and hold space for someone :

1. Listen without judging, this creates a safe environment for them to express themselves. The fear of being judged, rejected or shamed causes people to isolate themselves and suppress emotions that need expressing.

Empathy and compassion are key ingredients to a safe space.

2. Summarize what they said and ask questions about their experience … example ” Okay, let me make sure I have this right….” or ” I’m hearing that ______ do I have that right?”

3. Make eye contact …really engage (don’t check your phone in fact let them see you put it away) and give them your full attention. We hold each other with our eyes which signals to the other person “I’m here, I see you, you’re important to me”.

4. Validate their emotions… example “sounds like that was a difficult situation I understand why you would feel ____”

So the next time someone comes to you with a problem or wanting to vent to you and you feel like you need to fix it .. remember that the best gift you can give them is simply holding space for them.

* this is also one of the best gifts you can give yourself 🙂

Setting Intentions for Your Summer Vacay

If you are planning a vacation or even a stay-cation one way to make the very best of your getaway is by setting intentions for your trip.

You’ve heard the saying “Its not where you go it’s who you go with” … I believe it’s also about the experience and memories you create.

So as you pack your items & create you itinerary ask yourself:

What do I want to feel on this trip?

What do I want to expand on while on this trip?

What do I need to release in order to experience the best on this trip?

Answering the questions above can help you to create your intention(s) for your vacation. Intentions serve as a guide to help us shape our experience, including the activities we participate in, time spent and how we want to BE/feel. If we are clear on our intentions we are more likely to use our time and energy in a way that aligns with them…which makes for a more fulfilling trip!

Here are some examples of vacation intentions:

•Be present

•connect with loved ones

•experience a new(food or activity)each day

•sleep well

•enjoy nature

•unplug

•eat well

•slow down

•daily gratitude

If you are taking a trip with your partner you can practice setting intentions together which can make for a more intimate experience… and of course don’t forget you can write your intentions and experience in a journal😉📒

What are some of your vacation intentions this summer ?🌞

~Christina

Journaling For Your Mental Wellness

Do you want to start journaling but are feeling stuck on getting started? If so you’re not alone and I am excited to share some tips on how you can begin and stick with journaling for your mental wellness as a self-care practice!

Journaling can help to alleviate anxiety, increase mental clarity, relieve stress, spark creativity, help us face our biggest fears and process the many events and emotions in life.  My suggestion would be to jot down some of these notes in your journal to get you started on making your pen hit the paper…

Here are 6 practical Tips to help you get started:

1. Set an intention for your journal practice. Ask yourself why you wanted to start journaling and what you hope you will get out of it. We are more likely to stick to a practice that has personal meaning to us.

2. Don’t wait for perfect. You do not need the perfect words, thoughts, or eloquent sentences. You don’t need a setting that looks like something on Pinterest either (you know the pretty desk, coffee mug, succulent plants, cute journal and a window with a pretty scenery outside).

3. Keep your journal somewhere easily accessible. Keep it by your nightstand so it’s there waiting for you when you get up and go to bed. Incorporate journaling into your morning or evening routine to help you get your day started and wind down in the evening. Check out Julia Cameron creator of Morning Pages for more ideas on this…http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

4. Use journal prompts/ quotes/scripture to get you started.Prompts are helpful when you feel like you do not know what to say or feel like you don’t have anything to say. I have listed 10 prompts that foster self-awareness and positive thinking. If you like to read you can pick a quote or scripture that you are pondering and write about what it means to you and how you intend to apply it.

5. Find a journal that you like and are inspired by…in doing so you are more likely to want to open it! (Check out www.journaljunky.com for some beautiful handcrafted journals by Nicole Annette:@journaljunky she is also a wonderful resource for journaling tips and inspiration!

6. Incorporate movement and spirituality into your journal practice. Before writing you can…. Do some yoga…pray… meditate….read scriptures go on a nature walk! We know that our body holds much emotion and moving it can help us to express and tap into the emotions, memories and story it is holding.

7. Thank yourself! Thank yourself for taking this step in caring and loving on yourself in this way. This is something only you can do for yourself in this self-awareness/self-love journey!

Identifying Emotions

Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions- J. Freedman

What emotions did you feel as you went about your day today? Often we can go through the day so quickly without giving much attention to how we feel emotionally (or physically). As you begin to journal express in sentences, single words or pictures what you are feeling and where in your body you feel it.

Be patient with yourself, sometimes just noticing the sensations in your body can help to express or identify emotions. Do so with curiosity and not judgement. This is a practice of turning inward, being present, and being compassionate with yourself. Allowing yourself to feel is one of the most -kind things you can do for yourself.

Check out one of my favorite resources on emotional intelligence (you can order the deck of cards that goes along with it on the authors’ website!) Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren

https://karlamclaren.com/shop/

Create Space-Mental Clarity

Writing your thoughts on paper can help to sort them and unclutter your mind so that you can choose what you want to focus on. Use your journal to unpack your thoughts, beliefs, worries, fears and dreams.

When you have written everything you want to down ask yourself which are serving you and the direction you would like your life to go in and which are not? Is what you wrote down in alignment with who you want to be and how you want to feel?—keep what is and let go of what is not to make room for new thoughts that do.

Make room for truth, self-affirmations, hope, dreams and love.

“Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”- William James

Gratitude

Write down each day something you are grateful for. A positive mindset is a habit and building it takes intentionality and practice. Be specific about what you are grateful for and why! This is practice of noticing the positive things within yourself and within your life can help generate more energy and hope. This kind of positivity doesn’t mean we never acknowledge those areas in our life that need our attention to change, instead it helps us to open our mind to see solutions and possibilities.

Letter to loved one/self

Writing letters to yourself is a very powerful practice. You can reflect and write a letter to your younger self. What would he or she need to hear from you right now.

Who are they what are they like? What do they think of you? What would they ask? What would you like to tell them? Some examples of what your younger self may have needed to hear but didn’t hear enough of:

• You are enough

• You matter

• You can

• You didn’t deserve that

• You are worthy of love

Another idea is write a love letter to yourself right now.

What do you love about yourself and what do you hope for yourself. Encourage and affirm yourself with your words. Refer back to this when you are feeling down to remind yourself you are loved.

You can also write a letter to a loved one who may no longer be here on this earth. Express gratitude, love, memories, sadness, anger…. welcome any and all emotions to the paper. Try not to edit and overthink what you write down.

This is a practice of reflection and taking time to turn inward and explore the different parts of yourself…this is an act of self-love and self-awareness. Continue to love, stay curious and welcome all of you!