What can we do with all of the negativity that we are recently and chronically faced with? Actually, many things! We can be a light for others. We can be confident this will pass and compassionate towards others who need our help. Empathy is a draining emotion. Often, our gas tanks are not filled, but we keep filling others. There is a fine line about having too much empathy for others. Compassion shows our integrity and richness in boundaries.
Study the above image, the famous artwork, “Watson and the Shark,” by John Singleton Copley, 1778.
Compassion shows others reaching out to assist the drowning man. Empathy shows men looking over in fear, imagining themselves falling into the freezing water, preparing to be eaten by the shark.
Who are you in the picture?
Moods are often genetic, but can also intensify in our everyday environments. We have the power to change our moods. This can be done under the care of a physician with medication, and good, consistent therapy. You can make change happen. If you are lucky to have a good self-care regimen, this is also a perfect add-on.
1) Take note of what is not pleasing to the eye in your home. I like to begin with bathroom or bedroom spaces, as we tend to spend a lot of time there. The vision you can create with some basic modifications can be greatly beneficial. Maybe you could add a calming paint color to the walls, ceiling, or cabinets?
2) Adding some simple baskets to the countertops or floors shows good organization and adds texture to a room. Creating looks that are pleasing to the eye, while in organization mode, helps to release and declutter our minds.
3) Bring home flowers that categorize yourself, while showing an appreciation of nature. This can be very rewarding for a hard day. I also enjoy putting window boxes outside my bathroom or bedroom window. It gives me such joy to care for plants and to let them give back to me. Lavender is pretty, useful, and inexpensive.
4) Spritz your favorite perfume around the house or light a few multi-use soy candles. Sometimes after lighting them, I take the warm, melted wax, rub it in my hands, and apply as a hydrating face mask.
5) Invest in a basic sound machine or create a soothing playlist.
6) Wash away negative messages. Make special scented bath scents for the tub (or drop in a tea bag). Visualize all of your worries leaving through the window or a drain. Have plush towels waiting and relax and enjoy the simple things in life.
Christine Cantilena Barnes
A licensed clinical mental health counselor, Christine has been a part of Atlanta’s professional community for over 25 years.