Making Use of your Psychology Toolbox

Making use of your psychology toolbox

When the sun shines, I wear sunglasses.
When the rain drops, I hold up an umbrella.
When my heart aches, I seek out what is called…a psychology toolbox.

From the time you were born until you woke up this morning, could you identify one year where nothing “bad” happened? How about 6 months? One month? 2 weeks?

Our lives are full of unavoidable barriers. We experience being ignored, misunderstood, or treated unfairly. We experience illness, injury, the loss of a job or a loved one, or even the loss of our childhood dreams. Everyone carries with the the burdens of life in one way or another.

 

a simple exercise

Adversities in life are like the air, as long as we breathe, we have them. So what can we do about them? Here is a simple exercise we can do together.

Task One

Please solve the follow equation and write down how much time it took you:

2345 + 9876

Task Two

Please solve the follow equation and in the same amount of time or less than what you spent on the first one: 2345 x 9876

How did you feel after you finished reading Task Two?

A) Shocked, anxious, or despaired…”It’s mission impossible!” B) Calm, at ease, or motivated…”It’s a piece of cake!” C) Joyful, pleasant, or enlightened…”LOL, I can do Task Two even faster!” Some people may choose A, others may choose B, and others C. What is the difference? Assuming that no one here is a math genius, a simple answer is: for those who chose A, they calculated the first equation by hand, and they planned to calculate the second one by hand as well. For those who chose B, they solved the first equation using a calculator and they planned to solve the second one using a calculator as well. For those who chose C, they probably solved the first equation by hand, and they planned to grab their calculators to solve the second one. At this point, you have probably guessed what I intend to convey here. The calculator is our tool! When we have the right tool in hand, we have a chance to turn a “mission impossible” into something that is a “piece of cake”, or even a joyful task.

what tools have you been using?

Of course, life is never as simple as this exercise, but would you agree that the power of “changing your habitual ways of doing things” bears the same logic?

Considering some of your adversities growing up and as an adult, ask yourself:

What kind of coping tools have I been using?

Many people may find out that the tools they often use include:

  • Blaming yourself
  • Blaming others
  • Burying your hand in the sand
  • Avoiding feelings
  • Thinking that things should be different from what they are
  • Waiting for others to change first

You may find out that your family, friends, colleagues, etc. use such tools as well. Sometimes we know that these tools are not that useful, causing low moods, self doubt, interpersonal conflicts, and feeling stuck, but we stick to them as we are not sure where our “calculators” are yet.

making use of your psychology toolbox with Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is here to help you get your life’s “problems” done more easily by using a “psychology calculator”, with which you may learn:

  • How to access your pain and suffering to gain a deeper understanding of them
  • How to relate to your stressful thoughts and unwanted emotions instead of running away from them 
  • How to accept your current situation and at the same time, find a way to change it
  • How to be fair, kind, and compassionate with yourself and others

Learning how to use these psychology tools may take a while. Difficulties may come up as we progress.

The question is, are you willing to give the “calculator” a try?

Julie Li
Julie Li offers in-person appointments in Calgary and virtual therapy sessions across Alberta. She wants to be a witness of the dark weights in your life, a listener to understand your hidden tears, a support for your never-ending efforts, and a companion in your journey of fear, self-doubt, uncertainty, and confusion.