Human beings need to find the best part of each situation and turn whatever negatives there may be into a positive. Then join the former negative with the best part of the situation. For instance a negative, distorted thought would be, “I yelled at my wife yesterday, making me a horrible husband. Now, she may want to divorce me and I will never be happy again.” A replacement thought would be, “I made a mistake yesterday, but everyone sometimes does that. I do not usually yell at my wife and I try to speak nicely. I will apologize and try to control my anger next time. My wife loves me and will not leave me because I got angry and yelled at her.”
Regarding your anxiety, you can try using the aforementioned skills while adding some relaxation techniques to the mix. Deeply breathe in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then release your breath slowly through your mouth. You will immediately feel less tense. Using relaxation imagery (imagining yourself in a calm place or situation) and muscle relaxation (calmly telling each of your body parts to relax) are also very helpful.
Having a safe place where you can express your feelings and experiences will help you get through this trying period. If you are still unhappy with the first therapist you go to, please do not give up on the idea of therapy. After all, you must feel comfortable and safe with your therapist because he or she will ask you to do things that make you feel uncomfortable, namely thinking about your negative/anxiety thoughts and replacing them with positive, calming thoughts. You need to fully trust your therapist in order to accomplish your ultimate goals of calmness and happiness. So please remember that if the initial professional does not work for you, find someone who is a better fit for your needs.
Hatzlachah!Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to email@example.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.
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