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Welcome to the Close the Chapter podcast. I am Kristen Boice, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice pathways to healing counseling. Through conversations, education, strategies and shared stories, we will be closing the chapter on all the thoughts, feelings, people and circumstances that don't serve you anymore. And open the door to possibilities and the real you. You won't want to miss an episode, so be sure to subscribe.
Welcome to this week's close the chapter podcast. I am so grateful you're here with me this week, as we're embarking on this new year, and you've done some reflection. If you haven't listened to the very first episode for this year, feel free to go back and do that. And then last week's episode, I talk about practices that impact your emotional and mental well being and how to get into a more centered practice. So you can get calm, clarity, compassion, connection, all of the things you want more of in your life, and you get to choose what works for you. So not all these practices are maybe met for you, you get to pick the ones that will help you the most. So sometimes we have to try these practices on and then go from there, we're reaching the point in the year where we might have set some goals or resolutions. And we're kind of falling off of that pattern. I want to say it's okay, there is no right and wrong. This is all a matter of coming back to this present moment and deciding what works for you and what doesn't work for you. And then maybe pick one thing to focus on one thing you want to change because sometimes or you want to grow in or stretching or feel better about because sometimes when we pick all the things, we get way overwhelmed, we shut down, and we almost go back and freeze. So we go frozen in time, we get too stressed out, we put too much pressure on ourselves. So we need to be realistic of what we can and can't do, what will work and what won't work. Know yourself. I know if I put too much on my plate, it'll be so overwhelming. And I will just go back to my old patterns, I am very clear on what I'm being called to let go of and what to focus on more this year, because I'm taking time each morning to get centered to get off my phone, which is super art to do and get realigned. And so it's a practice for me. It's a practice of committing and yet I long and I yearn for this practice, because it's helping me. And so you can go back and listen to last week's episode, I have so much more to share today. So grab a notebook, grab a pen, if something strikes you that you get a download about or you're thinking you know what, this is something I really want to get more of in my life, write it down, set an intention. In the last episode of 2023. I talked about picking a word. And it's almost like a mantra, what is your mantra a word going to be for you to return to recenter get yourself back on track in terms of what you want more of in your life. And I originally had a word this is interesting. I originally had a word and another word came through louder than that word. So I have since changed my word. And that's okay if you're in the same boat, or maybe you're kind of forcing a word, because you thought you had to have a word. And when you just sit, maybe you're journaling. Maybe you're journaling a prayer, maybe you're really listening to the leading you're getting, I got a very different word, although the original word I had was impact, this haizen impact. But I'm very clear, this is my word. And my word has changed its trust. The word is trust, trust each moment exactly as it is without needing to know the outcome or it needing to be different. Now I've already been challenged in this word, because my husband basically is going to probably have to have back surgery because first he used to be a racecar driver. So that's been hard on his body. He's a triathlete. And just slowly over time, his back has taken an impact so he's probably going to have to have surgery his l five. If you know anything about the back which is the lowest part of the back has a extrusion. An extrusion is a disc that is literally kind of extruding from the spine and impeding on other parts of the body and you have a herniated disc and then a protrusion and an extrusion. So needless to say, he is in a lot of pain, and it's challenging him mentally and emotionally and I am returning to my word Trust, trust the moment as it unfolds, even though I don't want them to be in pain, I need to trust the process of how this unfolds. So I returned to the word trust as a centering practice. I journal about it, I write out I asked in the previous episode, one of the key questions I asked is, Dear God, or dear love, dear universe, whatever you want to call it, what do you want me to know or see today? And I've been doing that on a very regular basis in the morning so I can get centered. And what is it that I'm to know or see today into loving practice. So I encourage you, I'm using building blocks from previous episodes to come up with your word or your mantra to return to for this year, you can pray about it, you can write about it, you can get centered on what you think that word is, you can return to it, then you can incorporate the daily question. And now I'm going to outline some other practices and last week's episode. So you can go back and listen to that I'm going to share with you some more of the practices that I think are helpful, grab what you want, discard the rest. In your wellbeing and mental health. We talked about journaling the question or a prompt, and you can write any question that you're struggling with. And it might be about forgiveness, it might be about your health, it might be about your parenting, whatever the question is, ask it and see what comes through the other practice that I highly, highly recommend I do myself, I encourage to clients, and I've talked about it often as a letter writing practice to those that you might be struggling with. And one of those letter writing practices that I encourage people to write is one letter to your mother, one letter to your father, if you're adopted, you can do your adoptive parents in your biological parents, or a step parent, and doorstep parent and take the time to write each of them a letter to say whatever it is, you need to say, maybe you need to address some hurts some unmet needs, maybe you need to thank them or write out gratitude, perhaps you need to process something that you never got to process with them or something you've never told them, you're gonna write this in the letter, you do not have to share this letter, this letter is a practice for you. It's not for them, it's for you. If you want to open up this letter writing practice to anyone else, it can be a sibling, a relative, a friend, a neighbor, a coach, a co worker, or someone that maybe you have something unresolved with, maybe you need to forgive, maybe you're gonna need to write several letters, this might not just be a one and done letter, this might be a practice for you of just writing a letter to get it out to process, the pain, the hurt, the fear, the anger, the rage, sadness, the grief, the sense of loss, betrayal, maybe you felt robbed of something, maybe you feel the sense of just a longing to connect with this person, it might be someone who has since died, that you didn't get any closure with and that word closure, I did a wonderful episode on the myth of closure, you'll want to listen to that one, it's back last year. And maybe it's just something you need to continue to D layer. And letter writing can be so powerful and helpful. And I encourage you to do that. If you need to resolve something that is still frozen in time. So maybe you're still feeling like that just triggers you. And maybe something in the present moment is triggering you please take the time to write out how you feel when you feel triggered, because you will pass on what we do not heal or repair, we pass along, we have to face it to heal that pain and hurt. In order to stop the generational transmission of more pain. We can't escape that we're going to cause some pain unintentionally, it's just part of it. It's part of parenting, you're not going to get out of that category for free or maybe hurting others unintentionally. It's a matter of continuing to tend nurture, offer love, empathy and compassion to that hurt part. That's what you wanted from each of your parents. Maybe you didn't get and it's time for you to offer that to those parts that are still longing to be seen, known, heard, understood, loved, accepted, cherished, adored. And when we do this parts work when we heal these parts, and we write these letters, and we journal and we process how we feel you start expanding your window of tolerance for your own emotions and those of your kids and those people that you love, not tolerating abuse, were tolerating their emotions so they can be sad. They can have their anger, healthy anger, they can feel disappointment, and they can tell you Where their hurts are that you've might have caused and you can tolerate hearing them. It's one of the most important parts of the therapeutic work I do is being able to tolerate hearing how you might have caused pain for another person. And it's hard when you can do that work and you can hear the pain you might have caused somebody else. And you can take responsibility for that pain. You can listen to it, you can empathically witness it, your window of tolerance has grown. And that is developmentally, one of the most important things when we're coming up with practices for your mental and emotional well being is increasing your window of tolerance to sit with the discomfort of emotions, and to hear other people's pain. It's life changing. That's why I'm so passionate about these practices. Okay, here's another thing that I have been seen as a major issue and impact. And again, it's not all or nothing good or bad, right or wrong. We're noticing how do you feel when you're on social media, and you see and compare yourself to other people on social media, whether it's how they look, their success, what they have, their relationship, their relationships, their house, their perfect, what looks like kids, whatever you're comparing yourself to, that is an invitation for you to set a boundary for yourself, get off social media, and start nurturing yourself through it and be realistic using your executive functioning with rational thought saying a lot of what we see on social media is filtered. We're filtering out the hard stuff. Sometimes we're filtering out the more vulnerable parts we're filtering out when we might have had a meltdown. As a parent, we're filtering out where we might have snapped at somebody. We were filtering out when we're in shame, loneliness, grief, and despair. And I am going to encourage you to get off social media as much as you can. Now, this is the catch 22. What I'm seeing right now is for teens, social media is having an extremely detrimental impact to their mental health, and will only continue and if we do not start addressing it. And we do not as parents, or as individuals in this world started dressing our own use of social media, or not going to be able to help our kids. And it's something I promise you, I have to rumble through myself. I have to work through it. It is an addiction. It's like a poll. And unfortunately, we have our work on here. We have phone calls, we have text messages, we have books, on audiobooks, we have regular books, we have our email, we have websites, we have the grocery, we have everything on this phone, and it just sucks us in like a vortex. And it's so hurtful to how we feel about ourselves. Especially think about especially young people think about for us as adults using social media. And for younger adults and teens and kids. They can't filter out what they're seeing. They only think that's the reality. They think that's real. And it's dangerous at times. So what if we can get off social media more? Is that a goal for you? Is that something that appealed to you? Do you want me to do more episodes around that? Let me know, because I want to be walking this walk with you. And that leads me to my next practice is less television and more quiet time either in reflection, journaling, and I'm not saying all your days, you know, you're journaling and you're praying and you're having all this reflection time. It's a balance. It's a practice of setting aside 20 minutes a day for journaling, self reflection, planning, and maybe listening to a podcast where you're getting ready listening to an audiobook and just having some quiet time. Because what we consume will make a difference on how you feel. What you consume impacts your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions, especially when we're developmentally stunted, or we are younger. What we consume makes a difference on how we feel notice it, watch it. Notice when you laugh, how you feel with a show. Notice when there maybe we're watching true crime, and how we feel more like anxiety is so heightened. And do you have more fear? Do you have more nightmares? Are you having flashbacks, that is not the intention for what we should be watching or could be watching. So watch what you consume. And notice how you feel limit the amount of consumption for those types of programming, because it will make a difference in your psyche. And we will begin to play things out. And we will begin to see anxiety and it will live in our bodies depending on what you're watching. So if you're watching a lot of thriller movies, True Crime Dateline, 2020, anything like that, it will impact how you feel. And if you're listening to these things, too. They're fun to listen to until you're starting to feel more anxious and you're starting to maybe get triggered yourself with maybe your own PTSD or your own unprocessed trauma. So It's very important to watch what you're listening to what you're consuming. And the more positive you're putting into your brain, the better you're going to feel. And I don't mean like toxic positivity. What I mean is if you're listening to things that pour truths into you, and help you feel better about yourself that helps you gain your center, come back to a calm place, help you continue on the path of what you want more of listen to those things, listen to them on repeat, I remember when I was in college and post college, I somehow stumbled upon Zig Ziglar. He is a motivational speaker that was around back in the 80s. I think 80s was the prime maybe 70s and 80s. And I got a hold of his it was tapes, it was cassette tapes, and stinking thinking. And what you put in is what you're going to get out. And what you put into your relationships is what you're going to get out of your relationships and picking healthy people. And you didn't talk too much about that. But it was good motivational speaking. And I listened to it every day when I got ready for work. And I'm going to tell you, that helped me be able to have a centering anchoring truth to come back to that I need to watch my thoughts that my thoughts really do impact me. And I needed it like every day, it was like one of those I was on a kick, I needed to be reminded and grounded in something that would help motivate me to keep going. And if you find that thing, and it lasts just for a little bit, that's okay, I just needed Zig Ziglar for a little bit, I listened to the tapes for the amount of time I needed. And then I was done with it. And that was all I needed. It was kind of like a helped me to keep on the path that I wanted to create, which was impact and having a positive impact. And I still processed feelings because I was still journaling and do letter writing and those things at the same time. So find what works for you and listen to those things that lift you up, fill you up and help give you I would say love guidance and passion and motivation that you might need, and then start to internalize that and that becomes starts to integrate in to your whole self. And you don't need something external. Because now it's become part of it's almost like re parenting yourself, it's become part of you. Okay, the next thing for healthy practices is, in my opinion, reaching out to those people that matter most to you and tell them picking healthy relationships that are vulnerable, authentic, supportive, encouraging, deep and real. If that matters to you make that a priority in your life, whether that's your partner, your friendships, support, group therapy, whatever it is for you, we need more of that, to help us have a healthy sense of self. And maybe we didn't have that as a kid, maybe we didn't have that friendship, or maybe we did. And you want to maintain that friendship, or maybe you've outgrown that friend. Or maybe things have just changed in life circumstances have changed. Tell people what they mean to you tell people now that you love them get into a practice of doing that every day, I have a list that I'm doing this share of people that I'm going to reach out to, and maybe it's sending a card to that person, maybe you do a card a day, maybe you do a card a week, and you're just going to mail it to that person, because you want to get more off your phone, maybe you're going to write them a letter on what they meant to you. Maybe it's a former teacher that made an impact, or somebody that's made an impact in your life. And you just need to tell them, maybe that's going to be a habit for you that you're going to do for the rest of your life. I was listening to show your work, it's a book, somehow I got a referral for that book. And I started listening to it or reading it, actually. And one of the exercises that they encourage you to do is go read obituaries. And notice like why are you waiting to do the thing you want to do? We don't know what tomorrow holds? Like, why are we waiting for this perfect time to tell somebody or this perfect time to do the thing we want to do when we don't know how much time we have left? And that to be like fear mongering? That's not at all what this is about. This is about impact and legacy. And how do you show up with people and I'm also giving myself grace, you grace, us grace, that we're not always going to show up as these amazing together people that is not realistic. I want to be authentic, that is a high value for me. And so here's what I want to say to you tell the people how you feel about them now, get into a practice of that that helps your mental health and emotional well being without needing anything back from them. So let's say you send a card and they don't send anything back. It's important that you're okay with that your window of tolerance meaning you can tolerate someone not sending you a thank you back are sending you anything back or even acknowledging that they got it that you're going to be okay with that. It's no strings attached key, no strings attached. So it's telling someone how you feel without being attached to them saying something back to you. So I really encourage you to take the time and make it a practice to tell people how you feel. Okay? Ask for prayer and support. Maybe prayer is not your thing. Maybe that's been weaponized, maybe there's some religious trauma, that's okay. You don't have to do prayer. Maybe it's asking for support, or just sharing what you need. with other people. This is something I'm working on, I tend to be the one that offers the help, and doesn't need the help. And I'm in a season where I might need the help, I might need the help, depending on what happens with marks back surgery. And so I am accepting help. So if someone at the office says, Hey, we're out of waters, and I'm like, one of my co workers was like, I got it, I can friends was like, I can put the waters out, I can get the waters. And I was like, Oh, that was such a relief to me, like, thank you so much. And it's just a little thing. So asking for help can be vulnerable. And it's important for your mental health that you can ask for help. And it could be asking for a carpool help, maybe, or maybe you need someone to help with something at the office or with kids, or it doesn't matter what it is or a meal. Asking for help is vulnerable. And it's self care. Okay, the next mental health practice that I encourage you to do is Declutter. Declutter the chaos in your life to clutter the stuff, we have gotten into such a place that we think we need the next thing, the Tick Tock thing, they're selling the Instagram thing, the Amazon, whatever it is that we're being sold, take a look and say, Do I really need this? Ask yourself, Do I really need this, we think this is going to make me look prettier, younger, smarter, more convenient. And maybe those things are true. Maybe it is going to help organize things. But ask yourself, Do I really need it before you buy something and donate regularly, the things you don't use or need, go through maybe a drawer a week, take it to that level, maybe it's a shelf in the pantry, you're going to clean out don't do the whole thing, because what I find is people like I'm going to clean the whole house that is way overwhelming, breaking into bite sized chunks. And maybe on a regular weekly basis, you're going to clean out one section of your closet or one drawer, the sock drawer, which is always the issue note, just like your sock drawer, or a drawer that stores stuff like a junk drawer or a makeup drawer, or something that feels a little bit more manageable that you can just take like a little bite sized chunk out of what I find is it clears your mentally, and it clears when your surrounding is clear, you feel more clear. You don't feel the weight of all this stuff. So we've gotten into consumerism, and buying and what have we simplified our lives without buying so much stuff. A lot of times we're buying stuff to self medicate. We're buying to fill a hole in our soul we're buying because we think it's going to make us feel better about ourselves. Ask yourself, Do I really need this. And this goes for me too. I mean, I'm in the bucket, too. We're being sold to all the time now all the time. And it's important that you can look at the clutter and decide what you really need and what you don't need. Okay, here's the other piece, the next practice is so important that it's hard to do. It's a practice of watching your defensiveness and owning your part. How defensive Are you getting around feedback? How defensive Are you getting when your partner tells you something had defensive, and I don't mean abuse, we're not talking about abuse or gaslighting, or anything like that. We're talking about feedback, helpful, authentic feedback when your kids say something, and it's like, ah, hits you. And you're like, Okay, that's so true. What have you gotten a practice of just noticing your defenses when you're trying to protect yourself from hurt, rejection, abandonment, pain, what or judgment or shame, let's notice our defense mechanisms. Let's see if we can pause, take a deep breath, catch the defense, nurture that part that is trying to protect you. And really try to understand the feedback that they're giving you soften into the feedback. And you doesn't mean you're going to own all the feedback, it might be a little piece there for you to take a look at. It might not be an all or nothing. So what if we could watch our defensiveness a little bit more. That's a practice of mine that I'm really, really should continue to work on. And another practice that I think is important is making time for play and fun. Ooh, that's a biggie, because we're all about productivity. We're about getting things done. We're about making impact. What about for fun? What are you doing for fun? I need to work on this. What am I doing for fun? Maybe it's something as simple as you're just gonna watch a funny movie. Maybe you're gonna go see a comedian. Maybe it's getting together with your friend that you just laugh a lot with. Maybe it's finding a little bit more joy in your life by being present in the moment. Maybe it's learning how to play more. Maybe it's pickup I know a lot of people Love pickleball I still need to try it. Maybe it's pickleball. Maybe it's something that you just really find enjoyable. What are those things? Make a list? What are those things you find joy and fun in. So let's make some more room on a daily basis for fun. I have so much to say like on this topic. It's like it just oozes from my soul. So I just take what works, discard the rest. These are just practices that may or may not be helpful to you. We've all heard that gratitude is important. And I'm going to say it's super is for me. And it's not a bypassing of what you feel. It's finding the gratitude in the moment, even when it's hard. So make a list. I made a list today was as the love in our house, I was grateful for that. I am grateful for making it home safely from driving after show choir competition at 2am with blistering snow and make it at home safely by three. I mean, we left at 1230. We made it home by 3am. And I'm going to tell you I could not see I was like I cannot see there are no cars in front of me. It felt like a blizzard. It wasn't but it was blowing snow. I could the visibility was like zero in the wee hours of the morning with the truck drivers. So bless you out there. And me and my daughter and I could not see I was like, I was so stressed. I was sweating bullets. I was seriously sweating bullets. And I thought Thank you. I was just thinking each moment is just like thank you for being with me. I was praying, I was trying to stay present. And we got home and I just was like Thank you. I was exhausted by the way. I said thank you. I didn't get to bed till four. And just being grateful for making it home safely. Like that was so important to me. I was grateful for being able to go to the show choir competition. They literally leave at 530 If you're not familiar with show choir, it is a thing. 530 in the morning, we got back at like I said 3am It's a long day. And I am not built for no sleep, I realized the significance of sleep which leads me to my next piece is prioritizing my sleep. I feel a heaviness in my body, I can feel mean being more irritable and reactive when I haven't slept. Sleep is so important for your mental emotional well being please, please, please prioritize your sleep. Obviously, I couldn't sleep that day because I had prioritize being at the showcar competition. And I want to tell you notice the difference of when you get sleep and when you don't. It's night and day different. You might not even have it the next day. But the next day notice. Are you more reactive? Do you take things more personally? Are you exhausted and demotivated? Are your connection suffering? Do you snap more? Are you a more defensive? I want to say yes to all that. And that same goes with eating, eating like snacks or eating healthy foods. If I don't eat or you eat too much sugar, how are you feeling? How is your mood? How are your emotions? So it's also and this is not a diet mindset. I'm not a diet mindset person whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I don't think that's healthy. That's a whole nother conversation. But this is more about how you feel. How is your emotions. I mean, if one of my kids has too much sugar, I'm telling you, I can tell because they are not regulated. They're more reactive, they change their mood. And same with me. I mean, if I'm honest, if I have too much sugar, too much caffeine, I can feel it my nervous system. So watch those things, and see how they impact you emotionally and mentally. And when things happen that are hard, I try to look for the good. So for example, when my daughter had an appendicitis in the middle of the night, and it was this time last year that she had appendicitis and the gratitude I tried to find ah, gratitude in the moment, okay, we made it to the hospital I'm so grateful. Okay, we finally got in and we had a great nurse that explained and drew a map or a diagram that a map and a diagram of what was happening in her body, we were able to play her favorite music off Taylor Swift songs, and to help soothe her nervous system, we able to get a good doctor. Now it doesn't always happen like this, right traumas happen. And it's hard to find the gratitude. So please, no, I'm not making this sound trivial or trite. And I just want you to know that it is super hard when you're triggered when you're in fight flight freeze fun to find the gratitude because we're scared. We're scared. And when we can come back to our centering word, our prayer, practice our meditation, practice, whatever your practice looks like, you can come back and recenter the body in the midst of trauma. Like when my daughter fell 10 feet from a tree and had to go to the Children's Hospital Riley and I had to stay grounded in my body, which was really hard to do. It's hard to not go and fight flight or freeze I could feel me coming in and out of that and just know I tenderly hold all the space in love and compassion, because I get that it is a trauma. And let's have space for that and not bypass it with a gratitude. Or at least I don't have this, this and this. While that sounds like it's helpful, it actually pushes the processing away sometimes. And so that's the other piece is allow the feelings to come up and out, that is a practice. Now, sometimes we can't because we're at work or we're in a group setting, allow yourself to have your emotions, allow yourself to have your feelings, allow your children to have their feelings, it's okay not to be okay. And your window of tolerance, like I said, will increase when you can tolerate having your feelings. That's why I believe in having a practice for yourself. And then the last thing I'll say there's so many more I want to say I could go out at odd is saying no more often to things that you know are not good for you, whether that's people, activities, places that are not good for you, or have an impact on your emotional well being and say yes to more things that serve you fill you make time for quiet time. And I just want to say I'm so proud of you for doing this work for taking the time to reflect, go within and decide what do you want to change? What do you not want to change? Right now? I love the words right now you know that I love the words right now. Because it takes just being in this present moment. You can be right here right now. What is it that in your life you've put off facing? I am here with you holding all the tender empathy and space. I'm giving you some tools, some practices, some skills that you can use to hold yourself in a space of accountability, integrity, off yourself that compassion and empathy and follow through some of these things that you've procrastinated avoided, didn't want to face was drew from numbed. When you decide I am done doing the same thing over and over and over and getting the same result. I'm tired of not prioritizing my mental health, maybe it's sleep, maybe it's eating, maybe it's moving. Maybe it's journaling in doing emotional processing. Maybe it's facing pain from the past, I just want to say I admire you, you are an inspiration. And you're going to have healthier relationships with yourself, you're going to build your window of tolerance for emotions, and be able to handle so much more stress, what feels like stress. And you're going to be able to have more of what you want in your life, which is love. So I see a lot of couples and people that want to have healthy relationships. Maybe they've gone through a divorce, a breakup betrayal. And doing this work is the path to your healing. Doing this work, healing your hurt and pain is the path to your healing. It's not getting another partner. It's not just moving from one partner to another because you will repeat patterns a guarantee it. It is spending time with yourself and learning to tolerate yourself learning to tolerate your emotions, and more importantly, learning to offer empathy, compassion, tenderness, nurturing and care to yourself. That's the transformational part. And then it will pour out of you to other people. You will be a vessel of love and tenderness and compassion, truth, authenticity, vulnerability and integrity. Thank you so much for listening. Grab the journal that's free to help you at Kristen k r i s t e n d Boice b o ice.com. forward slash free resources, grab it, use it, it's free, pass it along,
whatever you want to do. I just want you to know your matter. You're important and you're special to me. And you listening writing a review passing this along to those who care about love Are you think will impact be impacted by this? Thank you. Thank you. We're having conversations about facing emotions of pain and that matters that matters to you matter. So join me next week. For more on how we are going to do this together this year in 2024. I'm so grateful for you sending you all my love, and I'll be with you next week. Thank you so much for listening to the close the chapter podcast. My hope is that you took home some actionable steps along with motivation, inspiration and hope for making sustainable change in your life. If you enjoy this episode, click the subscribe button to be sure to get the updated episodes every week and share with a friend or a family member. For more information about how to get connected visit www.kristendboice.com. Thanks and have a great day.
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