Real Beauty Tips: Nothing Looks Better Than a Healthy Brain!
So, you want to be live your life as the smoke show you are but your brain has other ideas? You’re in the right place! Welcome to a guide written by another fellow brain sufferer who is slowly digging herself out of a very deep, dark void. Mental health was not taught or encouraged when I was growing up, and it’s only been in the last 7 or so years that I’ve even started making changes. It’s a process and the healing is non-linear. Good days, bad days etc etc. In fact, it’s safe to say a lot of my healing will take a lifetime. That said, my mental health has greatly improved because of these resources that now aid me on my journey. Yay!, I’ve put together this guide of the things that I’ve found to be of great assistance because we aren’t gatekeeping health! Not on my watch. Just remember to take what you like and leave the rest. Healing is not a one-size-fits-all situation and what worked for me might not work for you.
1) First things first, therapy. I know it’s intimidating to find a therapist and go through the “interview” process (meaning trying out sessions with them to see if it’s a fit) but once you have some ideas of what type of therapy you need and what your options are it gets a little easier. I think a good way to start is to have a general understanding of what you’re looking for in a therapist and some non-negotiables. For instance I was like NO dudes or elderly therapists (no shade here, it’s just a relatability thing for me) and so I was able to narrow down the list with those basic filters.
I personally have been doing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy of (EMDR for short) which has been incredibly helpful for me. EDMR helps the brain create new associations and neuropathways to reroute troubling thought patterns often stemming from negative self perceptions and sometimes traumatic experiences.
You also want to think about finding someone within your insurance network if possible to avoid paying out of pocket. [Rant about American healthcare system redacted] As it goes, Colorado is a really great state to be in for mental health resources and there are quite a few options even if you don’t have fancy (or any) insurance. If you are uninsured and think you may qualify for an assisted healthcare program (medicaid) please take advantage! There’s a reason we have these social programs and medicaid covers a lot of mental health practitioners. Here is a link for a very easy application to get this process started if you’d like to apply to aid. I found my practitioner through Psychology Today under the “find a therapist” drop down menu.
Try to get a list of 5 or so therapists who fit your needs and reach out to all of them. A few might not get back to you which is normal (unfortunately) so don’t get down on yourself if you don’t hear back. Someone WILL connect eventually! I promise.
A few folks have also asked about psychedelic therapies. I’ve mostly been doing Ketamine therapy sessions (which is legal) but you will need to work with someone who has been trained with this modality and who can write you a prescription or works with someone who does. You will want to make sure to get a medical screening for this as well which should be required by whomever is prescribing this to you. Another route for this therapy is MindBloom, the company currently leading the charge with this style of therapy at the moment. Their service includes tele-health sessions for pre-session intakes and post-dose integration, but it’s pretty pricey. Worth checking out their website for more info on the therapy tho! Please make sure to really discuss any type of psychedelic therapy with a professional and make sure you are a good candidate. Again, one size does not fit all.
2) Next up – books that I’ve been working with alongside the therapy.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help
You Find— and Keep—Love
By: Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
It’s really helpful to determine what your attachment style is and what the others are so you can better navigate relationships. It was so eye-opening to read the different types and understand why so many of my past relationships have been such trash fires. Reading this book also motivated me to deep dive into a lot more work both physically and mentally to work out my super anxious tendencies.
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
By: Dr. Joe Dispenza
This one might seem a little out there at first but it’s really not. This helped me understand the way our brains process information and how patterns develop and why. It also broke down a daily meditation practice (something I’ve always struggled with) to assist in curbing some of my unsavory habits and thought patterns.
Internal Family Systems Therapy (second edition)
By: Richard C Schwartz and Martha Sweezy
“The underlying concept of this theory (Internal Family Systems or IFS) is that we all have several parts living within us that fulfill both healthy and unhealthy roles. Life events or trauma, however, can force us out of those healthy roles into extreme roles. The good news is that these internal roles are not static and can change with time and work. The goal of IFS therapy is to find your Self and bring all of these parts together.”- Theodora Blanchfield, AMFT
I found this book to be extremely helpful in understanding the origins of patterns that keep repeating themselves in my life. Each part of our personality serves its own purpose that often times emerged when we were children as a survival mechanism. However, these mechanisms can sometimes prove to be quite destructive as adults so taking the time to understand and breakdown our personal methodology is one way to address the issue.
Atlas of the Heart
By: Brené Brown
Brené Brown writes, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and one another, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories and to be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.”
Feelings are hard and let me tell you do I have a lot of them, and as it turns out we are supposed to be feeling those feelings. Who knew?! In Atlas of the Heart, Brown goes through 87 of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe in a way that builds more authentic connections with each other.
In the Flo: Unlock Your Hormonal Advantage and Revolutionize Your Life
By: Alisa Vitti
For all my fellow menstruating people out there- this one is for you! I’ve had nightmare periods for MY ENTIRE LIFE and only recently was it brought to my attention that our cycles should not in fact torment the joy from our lives and bodies. Who knew?! This is a whole-ass system called Cycle Syncing that helps you very easily shift your diet, workout routine, and workflow processes to align with our menstruating bodies. Wild stuff and after just a couple of months I’m already noticing a huge difference.
3) Additional resources:
I do a lot of additional work outside of the books and the therapy though because I frankly just got to the point where I couldn’t live in my head anymore. I hope that this isn’t your reality but if it is please don’t feel bad or alone! I’m as happy as anyone to say that the experience is shitty and also say it can get better. SO. Much. Better. Here are some fun add-on’s I’m into for a more holistic approach to reclaiming your brain.
- I journal like 3+ pages every morning. A lot of mornings can start out in a rough headspace for me and so it’s helpful to just get it all out on a page so I can move the hell on with my day.
- Scream. Into a pillow preferably or some place very isolated so you don’t upset your neighbors.
- Breathwork. More on this later but it’s work looking up some youtube videos and/or attending some local workshops.
- I go outside as often as I can. Reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from everything else is essential in our survival (IMO). If you can, plant those feet of yours on some grass or in water (weather permitting.)
- I’ve changed my sleep schedule to support better cognitive functioning (as in bed before 10 and up before 8 just like the old lady I’ve always strived to be.)
- Reduced my alcohol and cannabis intake.
- And I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great Ayurvedic practitioners who have helped me relate in healthier ways to my body (specifically where food is concerned.) I can’t recommend Ayurveda enough. Sounds fancy, but in fact is very accessible.
I have like 10,000 more resources if you’ve made it this far and still want some advice on caring for that cute head of yours. I am always happy to chat about mental health and how valuable it is to integrate into our daily practices. We can all experience much more beauty when we feel our best. Please take care of yourself you gorgeous, gorgeous, divine being because it really can get better.
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