Our Recent Event: “Finding Center”

I am privileged to work with a talented group of practitioners who specialize in all different areas related to holistic health care and wellness. We decided to begin a monthly event series at our office highlighting the importance of integrated care: using approaches that help mind, body, and spirit. We wanted our event to be interactive, for people to receive tools that they could immediately begin implementing, and to create a space that was inviting and relaxing so that those who attended left feeling calm and more peaceful.

Our topic for the first event was “Finding Center” and it was focused around the topics of stress and relaxation. What a fun event it turned out to be! Myself and another psychotherapist talked about what stress is, warning signs and symptoms of stress, how stress effects our relationships and some strategies for coping with and minimizing stress.

One of the parts that stood out to me was this: though stress from both positive and negative events is an inevitable part of life, we have control over how we think about stress. Our cognitions and thought patterns about whatever is causing us stress can compound the effect stress has on us. For instance, we can’t stop the fact that our cars sometimes break down, houses need unexpected repairs, or we get laid off from a job. And we might not want to stop joyous events that still lead to stress like getting married, pursuing a graduate degree, or having a baby. These events typically occur externally.  We can have some level of control over how we think about these things though – the internal component. If something breaks in the house, thoughts like, “Nothing ever goes right for me”, or “What’s next? Everything is always falling apart in my life!”, compound the stress we experience from an event. Catching ourselves when we jump to these irrational conclusions, and tempering them with a statement like, “Things wear out, it’s just natural”, or “This could have been a lot worse”, help to reduce extra unnecessary stress from piling on us. We may not be able to control ALL the stress in our lives, but we can control how we think about many of the stressful things that occur.

The rest of the evening included self-massage techniques and yoga stretching demonstrations to help minimize the effects of stress on our bodies. We talked about the role of eating, and the “how’s” of eating, not just the “what’s” of eating. We were given ideas of how to better decide what our body needs when we are under stress, and were encouraged to slow down with food, since our bodies can’t fully process all the nutrients we need when we are stressed. We can be eating the most healthy meal, but eat it under the wrong conditions and not be doing our bodies much good! We sampled raw chocolate cake, and two different teas, specially blended specific for our event and stress reduction. We looked at herbs that aid in relaxation and how we can grow and dry our own herbs, or even use the herbs we already have in our spice cabinet for teas that work like medicine for our bodies! All of this was done in a comfortable setting, with soft lighting, candles and aromatherapy. Not a bad day at work!

I’d say this was a successful trial run for our first monthly event in this series. Consider joining us next month as we explore how to thrive during the upcoming holiday season! More details to come.

About Liz Fava, LPC

Liz provides individual and couples therapy for adults, including counseling for dating, engaged, and married couples. She also conducts couples workshops, and training and supervision for therapists.