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How to Get Centered Between Therapy Appointments

If you’re seeing a therapist you might wish you could call your therapist every day.  You might feel burdened by having to live your life on your own, especially if you’re facing a heavy challenge.

However, one of the most important goals of therapy is to facilitate your strength and inner power. Therapy aims to empower you to make your own decisions, stand up for yourself, and face your challenges with ease. It aims to teach you healthy coping tools and how to build a network of support.

Along these lines, it’s important to learn how to get centered, calm, and cool on your own. It’s important to know how to breathe through anxiety or slow down when you’re feeling angry. It’s important to know how to meet your physical needs, for example, so that your emotional landscape doesn’t feel too tumultuous.

Here are some tips to use when you’re feeling anxiety, stressed or tense. They can be used anytime, anywhere – even right in the middle of your workday, when you’re waiting in your car at a light, or when you’re picking your children up from school.

Feel Grateful - Pick a time in your life when you know you have a few minutes each day. During those moments, reflect upon what you feel grateful for. A few moments of being grateful each day can radically shift your experience of life. It can shift your attention to all that you've been given versus all that you lack. What are you feeling grateful for right now?

Staying Present - The fastest way to move out of a stressful state is to become aware of one of your senses. In his wonderfully healing book, Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness, Jon Kabat Zinn details how returning attention to the senses can immediately shift your experience. By smelling a scent, touching an object, or experiencing a bodily sensation, you remind yourself of the moment you are in versus an imaginary moment from the past. Shifting your experience to the present moment through the use of your senses can build your emotional awareness.

Notice the Details Around You - This is a similar practice to the one described above. It's also a way of staying present, of being firmly connected to the moment versus getting caught up in an imaginary moment in your mind. Staying present by noticing the details around you in as many moments as possible can be, in and of itself, a spiritual practice.

Meditate or Rest Deeply - Meditation is a very calming practice that can also produce healing experiences. Although meditation might be difficult at first, the challenge at the beginning is worth the rewards. By sharpening one’s focus, the heart can open and healing can take place. You’re not going to be able to do this while you’re driving, but if you have a few moments in your day – perhaps during lunch – you can take some time to get quiet and focus on your breathing.

There are a number of different ways to get calm.These tools can be used every day, anytime you feel stressed, burdened, or anxious. Breathing, feeling grateful, and/or meditating can facilitate feeling centered and balanced. 

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Chris Massman is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Chris' training includes Family Systems Theory along with numerous other theories. She believes therapy is an art and chooses the theory she feels will most benefit the individual sitting in front of her. Her specialty lies is in the field of Chemical Dependency and Addictions. Chris is currently seeing individuals, couples and families. Chris is a Clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists as well as the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. Chris has two locations including Tarzana and Agoura Hills, CA.