Updated: Dec 4, 2018
One of the biggest (if not THE biggest) predictors of a successful counseling experience is having a strong bond with your counselor. This shouldn’t be surprising. Think about times in your life when you felt your absolute best… happy, motivated, at peace. What was going on in your life? Who was a part of your life?
Connections are key to your sense of belonging and purpose.
It is likely that the best times in your life you thought of involved a sense of community. No matter what was going on, the feeling was poignant that you are not in this alone. On the flip side, isolation can also be your biggest enemy. When the negative thoughts start rolling, some of the most common thoughts I hear from people I work with are “no one wants to hear about this” or “I’m not any fun to be around right now” or “no one will understand what I’m going through”. And these thoughts only perpetuate the cycle of isolation.
Ways to reconnect NOW:
(no matter how unmotivated you may be feeling)
Connect over something light
Focus on common interests for some light, but still meaningful quality time with others. Think about a friend you like to do art with, a family member you like to cook with, or a coworker who also loves tacos (wow, a lot of my ideas right now have to do with food!) Going for an errand with a friend may be just what you need to get out of your head and check off your to-do list at the same time!
Getting together and doing an activity together still facilitates a feeling of belonging and reminds you that you don’t have to do life alone.
Connect over something deep
I think we underestimate others’ ability to handle the “deep stuff”. That being said, choose these people wisely. Don’t set yourself up with someone you know might not be able to handle this right now. Once you realize who your trustworthy and deep thinking friends are, share a little!
Chances are they have been through a tough time in their life (spoiler- everyone has!) and if they can’t relate to your exact situation they will at least be able to relate to the feelings you’re experiencing.
Connect with yourself
Take yourself out! One of my favorite things to do by myself is go to a movie. No sharing your popcorn or candy- just a cozy seat and getting lost in the story line.
Besides going somewhere on your own, it’s also important to check in with how you’re feeling. Journaling is a great way to do this. You can find prompts online if you aren’t sure where to start. Emptying your thoughts onto paper can help make sense of what’s going on in your head. If you don’t like to write, going for a walk or a drive to let yourself think can also do the trick. It is a common phrase in the therapy world to say “connection is the opposite of addiction” and I think it would also be true to say “connection is the opposite of depression”. Taking steps towards connecting with others can help relieve feelings of isolation and help you on the path toward healing.
If you’re interested in connecting with a counselor as well, visit my where to start page to take the next steps.