Orlando counseling advice tips to feel happier now requires more effort than just “thinking happy thoughts.” Trying to force someone who is struggling with low mood or sadness to “think happy” just isn’t realistic or effective. Counseling can be a great tool to help someone sort out negative thoughts or emotions, but also to help them begin working on a good action plan to begin changing things that aren’t working. Orlando counselors continue to see an increasing amount of people who struggle with low mood, depression, apathy, or sadness. Normally, these emotions affect people when they suffer a loss (ex. grief or job loss) or have a significant life change (ex. divorce, break-up, financial loss), but they can also strike randomly, without any triggers at all. There are even people who feel down during normally happy times, like the holidays, birthdays, or after the births of children. Counselors also find that individuals seek therapy when they are just feeling “stuck,” or down, and wonder why they can’t get out of the rut they are in. Whatever the reasons are, they usually come from a place that makes it very hard to feel happiness. Beginning therapy in Orlando is a healthy way for someone to process negative emotions and finding ways that work towards shifting a low mood into a happier one.
Counselors in Orlando often use gratitude lists or journals in successful therapy all the time. Making new connections for your brain requires the same effort that your muscles need to grow strong. You have to teach your mind to learn new ways of thinking and journaling can help with that. As people write things, they are seeing them, and their body is also creating a memory with doing the writing. Over time, and as the individual sessions continue to help clients gain insight, they see that their gratitude lists begins to grow and expand beyond simple statements.
I had a client once tell me that he was “so tired” of making the gratitude list because he kept putting the same things on it. He was frustrated because he felt like each day he was thinking about and writing the same things he was grateful for. He was in the beginning stages of therapy at this point, but the simplicity in his statement spoke volumes! He was actively using energy developing a gratitude thought loop that may have once been spent feeding a negative one.
Now isn’t that an unimaginable concept for a person suffering from depression and anxiety? Maybe he didn’t see the difference at the time or in that immediate moment, but I sure did!! Towards the end of his therapy sessions with me, he later admitted the exercise forced him to acknowledge that he had many things to be grateful for. He told me that it was hard to ignore them when he made the effort to remember them regularly. In future sessions, he talked less and less about his depression and anxiety. His whole outlook eventually shifted to a more positive outlook on the future and his own potential for happiness. The gratitude journal was not the only factor that contributed to this, but it was something he could actively work on outside of his sessions to help him shift his thought patterns in a more positive direction.
Having the attitude for gratitude might be hard to find at times and maybe you will have moments when you strain your brain to find even the simplest of things to be grateful for. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes just trusting someone who understands what you are feeling or going through can give you something to be grateful for. If you know someone that is struggling, reach out to them and offer support, especially around the holidays. Just by letting them know you are grateful for them might be the start to helping them feel their worth and encourage them to seek help further.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.