In place of our usual Wednesday morning Self Care Series, we thought we would share a self care blog from student therapist, Kristi Santiago, MA at our nonprofit, The Ardent Grove Foundation. They are gearing up for their annual fundraiser which is a virtual event taking place tomorrow. Learn more about their amazing team of student therapists, supervised by our staff here at The Catalyst Center. We are so excited about the work they are doing in the clinic and in their community outreach. You can read all of their blogs focused on Strength and Resilience on their website. We hope you enjoy!

Embracing Healing Thoughts 

Kristi Santiago, MA

COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high and the weight of election season adds to an already stressful and uncertain daily life. It is easy during these times to play the “what-if” game and dive down a rabbit hole of despair. It is exhausting, disappointing, and scary to catastrophize like this. Engaging in healthy thoughts is not about seeing sunshine and rainbows, it is about seeing a balance in the world. It is about seeing the good, preparing for the bad, and appreciating the neutral. Another important aspect of embracing healthy thoughts is empowering yourself. Knowing you are an overcomer, learning from past experiences, and actively striving to see the light surrounded by all the darkness.

Your perception of yourself and the world has a large impact on your ability to face adversity. When confronted with obstacles it is easy to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed, but how are these thoughts serving you? Are these thoughts relieving stress? Providing a solution? Moving away from overwhelming thoughts to healthier thoughts can allow you to see a balance in the world and have a more optimistic thinking pattern. For instance, let’s say you are feeling overwhelmed by your workload. It is easy in these moments to feel like you will never be able to catch up. Rather than thinking this, take a step back and remind yourself that how you are feeling now is not an indicator of how you will feel in a few weeks. You may not be able to control the situation, but you can control how you see and respond to a situation.

3 simple exercises to embrace healthy thoughts:

  1. Empower yourself: Do something that makes you feel strong and powerful. Research has shown that standing in a two-minute power pose (chest lifted, head held high, arms either up or propped on the hips) increases confidence. Other research has shown that giving yourself a pep talk in the mirror can increase confidence as well.
  2. Roses, Thorns, and Stems: It can be difficult to find the good in some days, unless you are actively looking for it. Take the time to reflect on your day. Identify one thing that was bad, a thorn, one thing that was good, a rose, and one thing that was neutral, a stem. This will help you see more balance and remind yourself that there is not all bad in one day.
  3. Mental Movie: Obstacles can be so overwhelming that it can be difficult to see yourself successfully overcoming said challenge. It can be helpful to play out a scenario in your mind, like a mental movie. Picture an obstacle you are struggling with in your mind’s eye. What are you seeing, thinking, and feeling? What do you need to feel more confident in accomplishing your goal? Are there positive things you can say to yourself? Do you need support from others? Once you feel like you have all of the resources you need to be successful, play the movie in your mind’s eye of you successfully overcoming your life challenge.


If you are interested in joining them for the virtual event taking place tomorrow, December 3rd at 12:00 pm which will feature speakers focusing on Strength and Resilience in 2020 and also a 5:00 pm happy hour featuring comedian Adam Clayton Holland and musicians Andy Thomas and Jen GaNun of Lost Walks and Dust Heart.



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