What are some of the thoughts that you believe about yourself that may not actually be true? Perhaps it’s time to take away some of their power and punch. After all, would you not prefer to be driving rather than sitting helplessly in the back seat? I just renewed my back-seat driver’s license actually.

We tend to think the awful events or happenings in our lives cause our misery and mishaps. In fact, what knocks us down are our thoughts and unpleasant or even tormenting feelings about what happened to us.

So how do we detach from those thoughts and feelings? When that painful thought enters your head, start simply noticing and say to yourself: “‘I’ notice that I am having a thought that…” You simply do not have to believe the thought. Suppose you feel unattractive or useless today. Where is the evidence that it is remotely true?

Of course, physical exercise can sometimes be as effective as medication. Want to improve your emotional wellbeing? Pump up your physical activity. The level of hormones, serotonin, and endorphins literally change when you move. Too lazy, eh? You say your biggest fear about becoming a zombie is all the walking? No, you cannot drop your body off at the gym and pick it up when it’s ready. Want to know the best way to perform an exercise? Whatever hurts the most. If it weren’t for the fact that the TV and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.

Break those bad habits. Bad habits are like a comfortable bed: easy to get into, but hard to get out of. The only sit-ups you do are to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock? Exercise can distract you from your gloomy thoughts and increase your overall energy level. It’s my workout – I can cry if I want to. Do you have a healthy outlet for your frustrations? Whatever you do, give your mental health a much-needed boost.

How well can you manage your feelings, sweet friends? One of the most powerful stress-busters is spending time with people who energize or pump you up. What compares to simply talking to a friendly face? Spend time with someone who genuinely cares for you. It calms your nervous system.

Take in Mother Nature. It tends to make us feel centered. Look around you. Inhale the scents and sounds. Get some vitamin D from the sun, which is a mood elevator.  Pay attention to positive aspects of your life. No, you are not too busy to notice even small things as you go through your hectic day. Make it a priority for your emotional health.

I know, the only “carrots” that interest you are the number you get in a diamond. But please toss some fresh veggies, fruit, and nuts into your daily diet. Have that cuppa coffee or green tea if that’s your pleasure. Y’all know I don’t drink coffee to wake up. I wake up to drink coffee. No matter what historians claim, B.C. really stood for ‘Before Coffee.’ Treat yourself to some flavonoids in that bar of chocolate, while you’re at it.

I heard a joke about chocolate bars, and it wasn’t that funny. So I just snickered. Believe it or not, some foods support your mood. Stop skimping on sleep. It is literally the only way your body can recover and rejuvenate.

Try to always have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the Bahamas, mind you. Choose anything that will boost your overall happiness and wellbeing. Find something you are particularly good at, and do that. Creative expression promotes mental health. Bake a new recipe. Plant something new in your garden. Get in the garage and tweak anything at all.

Work on something in your life that you wish to fine-tune. Show someone some love today. Share your untold story with someone you trust. Take a trip down memory lane in your mind and recall some pleasing and positive happenings. Unwind and luxuriate in a hot bath or shower. Let your loved ones know what you appreciate about them. Go old-school and send a card or written note.

Above all, treat yourself with gentleness and good will. Stop the self-criticism. Practice your coping skills, please. I certainly hope you have a few of those. We all need stress-reducers. Know what you wish to achieve professionally, personally, and spiritually.

Spice up your life with a little change of pace now and again. No need to plan a ten-day road trip. Try a new restaurant, or simply change your daily schedule a tad. And may I remind you: Asking for help is a strength, my friends, not a weakness.

Make a point of doing one good deed a day. What would you like that to be?

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.