Jenn Tomko, a licensed clinical psychotherapist specializing in treating trauma and anxiety and owner of Clarity Health Solutions in Jupiter, discusses practical ways to simplify your thoughts and decisions during an already busy time.
Stay True to Your Beliefs
If you feel strongly about honesty, then you will experience an emotional discomfort when you are dishonest. Practice being honest and kind at the same time.
Don’t Be Judgmental
Judgements often have a negative feeling associated, “Those shoes don’t look good on her” or “I can’t believe he said that”. We can notice things around us without having a negative reaction. Instead say to yourself, “Oh that’s an interesting choice of shoe” or “I wonder if he was just stressed when he said that”.
Assume the Best About People
We tend to assume the worst in many situations, even if we will never know the truth (ie. we assume that people intentionally cut us off while driving). Making these assumptions leaves us feeling disrespected, but we will never actually talk to the person about their intentions. Instead, we can assume that the person’s behavior was accidental and they feel badly about the error in judgement while driving. Since we will never really know what the person’s intentions were, it just feels better to assume the best.
Create a Reality Check
Check in with yourself and ask the following questions:
- Is this anything I can control?
- Will this matter in a year from now?
- Will I even remember this moment in the future?
If you answer “no” to any of these, then let it go.
Focus on Facts
Emotions can complicate simple things. If you have been miserable at a job for a long time, then choose to leave. Emotionally, we get wrapped up in the fears that come from change. If you aren’t happy, change it.
After months of therapy people will often say, “I just decided to change.” Often, it really does just boil down to a basic decision. We complicate easy decisions, then after the decision is made, we marvel that “I just made the choice.” In the first session, I wish I could say, “It really is just a choice to change,” but people will feel unheard and feel that I am being cold. After all perspectives are assessed and alternatives are exhausted, it tends to just be a basic choice for change.
Text by Emily Pantelides