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Five Inner Freedoms to Practice & Celebrate

By Ashley Geist, LPC-MH SupV, LPC, NCC, QMHP, M.S.Ed


With Independence Day this month, it’s a great time to focus on some powerful inner freedoms within all of us.  Celebrate yourself and the beauty of personal inner choices this season with the ideas and practice activities below.    

 

1.       The freedom to choose again.

Mistakes in this life are guaranteed to happen; we can’t learn or do anything new without first practicing and missing the mark a few times.  A wonderful freedom we can exercise is the freedom to choose again, the next time around.  We cannot back-track, time travel or hit an “undo” button on our lives, but we are free to choose new actions next time, and to act anew in any given moment. 

 

Practice It – Identify a list of 3, next best possible actions for a challenging situation you are in.

 

2.       The freedom to respond to our thoughts.

Working in mental health, we honor that many times, our thoughts can be intrusive, invasive, and powerful.  However, we also know that while we don’t always have control over initial thoughts, we do have control over how we respond to them, how much value we give them, and which ones we choose to act on, believe, or speak into existence.

 

Practice – Make notes on your self-talk over a few days, then reflect – are these thoughts kind and accurate?  Would you say them to someone you love?  If not, it might be time to focus on speaking more kindly to yourself.

 

3.       The freedom to respond to the words and actions of others.

How others think, talk, and act is completely out of our control, but how we choose to respond to those words and actions is within our control.  In the face of negativity we can choose to advocate for ourselves and others, and to squash drama with silence or proactive or positive comments 

 

Practice – Make a quick list of healthy, positive actions or phrases you can use the next time you are faced with recurring negativity.  For example, if you struggle with a negative co-worker, you can excuse yourself to the restroom from a conversation that’s going badly or say something like, “I think everyone in the office is trying their best.” 

 

4.       The freedom to choose where we spend our free time. 

Once we’ve arrived in adulthood, most of us have a new-found freedom – the freedom to decide where and with whom we will spend our precious free time.  Even when you think the choice has been made for you, look again.  Many times we agree to events and situations without much thought or consideration.  Ask yourself, am I spending my time in places and with people who are uplifting, when I have the freedom to choose? 

 

Practice – Write down the places (virtual spaces count too) where you spend your time and who you talk with the most.  Beside each of them, identify, do these places and people bring you up or down?  Make changes accordingly, as you are able to do so.

 

5.       The freedom to question our own negativity. 

Not every thought we have is true, accurate, or kind.  Just as we have the freedom to hear and consider outside thoughts and opinions, we have a certain freedom to consider whether our own thoughts and opinions of ourselves are true and accurate as well. 

 

Practice – Ask 2-3 people who know you well and are trustworthy to describe your character.  Most of the time, we are surprised by how others see us, oftentimes with a great deal of love and generosity.

 

6.      The freedom to decide what we take in.

From music, to food, to entertainment of all kinds, we are deciding all day, every day, what type of inputs we will put into our bodies and minds.  It is well within our capacity to refuse to take in that which is toxic to us in mind, body and spirit.

 

Practice – Keep an “intake” journal for a week, noting what shows you watch, music you listen to, and the general nature of the foods and beverages you consume.  This task is not for the faint of heart, but will often give us a clear and honest picture of what we are putting into our minds and bodies.  If we don’t like how we are feeling, it might be time to make positive changes in these areas.

 

 

Ready for more positivity?  Follow The Support Circle on Facebook and Instagram for daily inspiration and visit www.thesupportcircle.com for links to our blogs and podcast; Counselors & Coffee, also available on Spotify.

 

Ready for more support?  Call The Support Circle at 605-845-2058 to book a session with our skilled clinicians, now seeing in person clients in Aberdeen and Mobridge, SD and providing telehealth services for South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota. 

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