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

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!

Why It’s Important to Be Mindful this Mother’s Day

I used to work for a Hallmark store for many years and know without a doubt that Mother’s Day (and Valentine’s Day) are the biggest and busiest days of the year. Cards, gifts, flowers you name it with messages that shower mom’s with love, commercials of children and families surrounding their mom’s with gifts and smiles…

However, that isn’t everyone’s reality. There are many out there who don’t share the hallmark experience. For some it’s depressing and dreadful. Mother’s Day and the days leading up may be a day that triggers difficult emotions and memories.

While many people experience joy in celebrating this day with their mother or mother figure in their life for others Mother’s Day triggers emotions like:

  • sadness/depression
  • resentment 
  • guilt 
  • anger 
  • inadequacy

Some are grieving the loss of their mother. Some are having to watch her go through a painful disease. Some are grieving the loss of a child. Some are struggling with infertility. Some going through postpartum depression. Some feel inadequate because they aren’t the perfect mom they see portrayed on social media or in comparison to other mom’s around them. Some are still dealing with the hurt of an absent mother…..

1.Hold space with kindness, compassion and without judgement for yourself and others who may experience these emotions during this time of year.  If you are someone who experiences these emotions during this day be sure to give yourself some extra self care, do something out of love and kindness for yourself, create more space for what you are feeling. Maybe connect with a friend or loved ones to help you through this difficult time.

2. Celebrate the day…your relationship to your mom and your journey in motherhood  is yours and not to be compared to anyone else’s. If you aren’t celebrating with your mom this weekend you can celebrate your own way..You can celebrate the memories or celebrate the women influencers in your life who have helped raise you and who you love. Celebrate YOU…who you are and who you are becoming as a person.

3. Stay mindful in conversation… If you are not someone who has positive feelings this time of the year be sure to embrace, nurture and celebrate that! Motherhood is a beautiful thing and comes in many forms.

So be sure to stay mindful when asking others about their day with these thoughts in mind:

  • not everyone has a good standing relationship with their mother
  • not everyone has a mother that is still alive
  • some women want to be a mother and would like to experience pregnancy but are struggling to. Stop asking ( mind your own womb :), kindly).
  • ask how their weekend was instead of how their “Mother’s Day” was…

For those of you facing a difficult Mother’s Day, what you are feeling is valid, what your holding painful and you’re not alone. My heart and the hearts of many others go out to you during this time💕

7 Ways to Stay Focused and Increase your Energy.

If you have ever set out to accomplish a goal you have most likely ran into some obstacles, distractions, lack of motivation and lack of energy at some point. Thats okay…you can begin again. Get back on track right now and check out some tips below on how to get your focus and energy back:

  1. Eyes and Ears– Our eyes and ears are gateways to our minds. Being intentional about what you consume visually and audibly can make a big difference in your energy level. Begin to take notice of what you read or listen to, if its eating you time and energy and you are left feeling drained, get rid of it and replace it with something positive and motivating. You can create your own visual reminder on a vision board, journal or notepad. Write down your goal or what you want to focus on and why it important to you.
  2. Listen to your Body– Pay attention to what (food, activities, people, environments) leave your body feeling drained. This could mean cutting out high sugar foods. Increasing your water. Getting more rest. Not answering that phone call. Not engaging in toxic gossip. Surrounding yourself with positive people. Tune in..your body is full of useful information when it comes to your energy levels.
  3. Say “No”– Staying focused on a goal can be difficult these days with all the low hanging fruit we encounter daily. The things that seem urgent but really aren’t. The unread emails notifications, text etc. Ever decided you were going to get something done and when you sat down to do it…you all of a sudden had the urge to clean or organize everything before being able to focus. To keep your focus on one thing you’ll need to plan saying no to many things (or people). Everything can not be a first priority. “No” can clear space for what is important and it doesn’t have to be done harshly it can be done with kindness..check out THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SAYING NO: 19 WORD-FOR-WORD SCRIPTS FOR ALMOST ANY SITUATION for more tips on this!
  4. Take a Nap- This can sound counterproductive. However, it’s been found that 20-30 min of nap taking helps to increase creativity and productivity. Think of it less as a break and more of recharging. Some people feel naps are for toddlers not for adults.  As a mom of two, I learned (after my second child was born), that naps are for both. That it really was in my best interest to sleep when she did because trying to “get stuff done” when she was asleep just created more exhaustion and decreased my focus and productivity throughout the day.
  5. Connect with Your Source- Feed your spirituality. Connecting with God first thing in the morning, praying, meditating, connecting with nature…all of these things can help to refresh your spirit and help you to start your day focused and grounded.
  6. Create a Routine- A lot of our energy can easily (and often unintentionally)be used up by small things here and there. Simplifying your routine can help to create space in your day. Having a routine or even meal prepping for that matter means less energy is spent during the day on trying to figure out what you need to do next or what you will eat and that energy can then be spent on those things that matter most to you!
  7. Surround Yourself With the Right People- Evaluate your tribe. Spend less time possible with people who make you feel like your goals are unattainable, who lack a growth mindset, who are negativeand draining. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to better yourself, who are positive, loving and truthful. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and whom you can learn from. If you have someone in your life who encourages you and supports your ambitions be sure to let them know today how you grateful you are for them!

Remember..what you focus on you give energy to…what you give energy to you give life to..

Live your dreams.

Stay focused.

5 Ways to Optimize Your Daily Commute

Research has shown us many of the negative effects commuting (by car, train etc) can have on our health. For some, a commute feels like wasted time and this can increase  anxiety, irritability, and can negatively effect how one shows up at their job and/or at home…

However, reframing thoughts around your commute and what you do while commuting can change the effect it has on your mind and body. Changing your perspective and your habits during our commute can lead to a positive experience that strengthens your emotional well being.

Here are some tips to optimize your commute, making for a more meaningful “down time” that helps to strengthen your emotional well being:

  1. Listen to podcast or an audiobook– If you love reading or learning you can turn your commute into an opportunity to expand and stimulate your imagination and  mind with some thought provoking or entertaining podcasts/audiobooks. You can really learn something new each day. If you find yourself bombarded by your own negative thoughts during your commute, occupying your ears with a positive message may be a good way to alleviate those negative thoughts.
  2. Take some DEEP BREATHS– Stuck in traffic? Check in with your body and breath every few minutes(this is mindfulness and deep breathing relaxation all in one!). This also great in that it increases your body awareness. Are you shoulders tense? Jaw clenched? Take a deep breath from your belly in through your nose and exhale big through your mouth releasing all the tension. As you have heard before..deep breathing are like love notes to your body.
  3. Snack and Drink something healthy– Drinking water and eating healthy foods can help to increase your energy and mood. A daily commute can mean routine healthy snacking- which again your body will thank you !
  4. Use an <a href=”http://InnoGear USB Car Essential Oil Diffuser Air Refresher Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffusers with 7 Colorful LED lights for Office Travel Home Vehicle“>essential oil car diffuser!–  Using essential oil such as peppermint or lemon may help to increase your alertness. Wild orange has been said to relieve some stress ( but not relax you too much ). Not every essential oil may be suitable for the car, visit https://www.dmv.org/articles/aromatherapy-on-the-road-oils-essential-to-a-safer-car-ride/
  5. Sing (You don’t have to be a good singer either)– singing can help release endorphins and oxytocin that help to reduce stress. Singing may help you to take some good big breaths as well which we know also helps to reduce tension and stress. Put on your favorite music and #vibehigher. Avoid listening to music that might be emotionally triggering. Choose new music once a week to expand your playlist!

4 Benefits of Curiosity

Ever notice how children ( especially around the toddler years) become relentlessly curious….asking “why” about everything!…even those things that seem so ordinary to us who have been here on this earth for decades. My daughter was and still is this way….she loves going on walks and will stop to look and observe the things I think most of us as adults often never stop to notice. At some point some of us were curious and got hurt, or we gained some knowledge and think we know more than we do, or we get so wrapped up in our busy that we don’t stop to ask WHY… we don’t stop to explore the world around us.

My daughter’s childlike wonder is something I admire and there is much evidence to show that there are some big benefits to being curious:

  1. Curiosity can increase our happiness… being curious about something new or discovering some ethnic new within something familiar to us leads to a novel experience. This novel experience stimulates a part of our brain that releases dopamine which then increases positive feelings. Being actively curious and learning more about what we find interesting has a satisfying feeling, an excitement to it and can bring joy. I’ve recently experienced this just listening to different podcast, where something was said that sparked my interest and I actively researched and learned more about…that feeling of having learned something new and meaningful made me feel productive which lead me to feeling good about having done so. When was the last time you felt joy in learning more and being curious? What sparked your curiosity? 
  2. Curiosity can increase self-love…. Taking time to learn about yourself is an act of self love. You have probably heard the saying that spending quality time with loved ones IS love. Your presence is one of the greatest gifts you can also give to yourself. Take time to get to know who YOU are, what you are feeling, what you like,/don’t like, what you hope for and what you fear. I’m doing so you may discover parts of yourself that you may not have noticed before. There are many ways you can practice this act of self exploration..here are just 3 ways :
    • Journal (this allows you time with yourself reflecting on what you feel and think)
    • Try something new/Read a new book ( Reflect on how you felt if you enjoyed it or not)
    • Therapy (many have the idea therapy is just for getting through difficult times, however having a therapist to ask questions of yourself that you may not have thought to ask can be helpful in your journey of self-exploration)
  3. Curiosity can increase quality of your relationships….staying curious about others’ (their feelings and point of view) increases empathy, which fosters strong connection and intimacy. One of the best gifts you can give someone is making them feel seen and heard…that starts with you being interested in them.. being curious and open to learn more (without judgement). Sparking passion and desire can begin with simply being curious about the mystery of the person you are with … deciding to see and learn something new about them. Relationship expert Esther Perel in her Ted Talk: The Secret Desire in a Long Term Relationship explains how desire requires mystery and mystery requires curiosity…

“Mystery is not about traveling to new places, it is about looking with new eyes.” Esther Perel

4. Curiosity can help you discover your passion!…If you are in a job you hate or feel like you don’t have anything you are passionate about…I encourage you to take time for yourself to do some exploring, ask questions about yourself and the world around you.. the opportunities to do so are endless…

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious” Albert Einstein

How will you spark curiosity today? What will you explore? I’d love to hear what it is you choose and what you learned…Stay Curious!