Navigating the Intersection of Work and Mental Health

Working Better and Stressing Less

Ideas on work and mental health

What is part of your workable life?

One common misperception about counseling is that counselors dispense advice on what to do in life to solve problems. The truth is that we're experts in HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Does that sound confusing? Here is an exercise you can try at home.* 

Think about a problem you've been trying to solve for awhile. Chances are, this problem has been capturing your attention and when it comes up in your everyday life, you pay close attention to it and concentrate on how to fix it. Maybe you have even tried some your "fix it" ideas and thus far, none have worked out. For a short period of a time (a day, a week), try to focus your attention on a different question. What parts of today would be part of a workable, valuable life, with or without the problem you face?

I will use a personal example here to illustrate how this might work. I'm a counselor and a mom to a baby and a toddler (amongst other roles). I am always tweaking schedules and trying different things to make all of my roles work. It's never perfect. A couple of weeks ago, I took a week to focus my attention on things that are part of a workable, valuable life for me. I won't list them all but one thing I noticed was that a change in my Wednesday morning routine (taking a yoga class) was extremely valuable and workable. A second thing happened is that I focused my attention on all of the things in my life that were workable and valuable rather than focusing it on all of the fixes I needed to make. 

So this exercise can help in two ways:

1. It can help you identify good things in your life that you might focus more on or replicate the characteristics of to actually SOLVE problems and, 

2. It focuses your attention onto already positive parts of your life, thus lifting your mood without having to make a ton of changes. 

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

* This is a blog and not a substitute for counseling so if your problem is likely to hurt you, go get help from a qualified professional, please. 

Katie PlayfairComment