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Looking Up

“Cheer up,” or “look on the bright side,” are expressions that may be all too common for those suffering from traumatic experiences, anxiety, depression, or any of the co-occurring mental health disorders related to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. While statements like these can be considered good sentiments, it is also incredibly difficult to simply decide to cheer up. Each person’s traumatic experiences can shape how they then perceive the world around them. Trauma can create a world view that seems full of danger, and simply “cheering up” isn’t such a simple option. Everyday events can become tainted with an atmosphere of discomfort, and the stress of feeling like you have to constantly prepare for the worst possible outcome can take a great toll on one’s mental health. However, “looking on the bright side” still may be a beneficial practice. This approach isn’t intended to disregard anxieties, but rather help contextualize a person’s daily experiences. 

Creating an objective view of one’s experiences can help reinstill a sense of reality. Anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction can create a scenario where a person may overlook the brighter parts of their day or even their own accomplishments. Looking on the bright side intends to introduce any previously overlooked positive events in one’s life. Successfully getting out of bed and going through a healthy hygiene routine may seem innocuous, but it can actually be quite a testament to the agency that a person has gained over their lives and an expression of their own mental and physical progress through recovery. Even when a person feels riddled with anxiety or depression, these overlooked tasks can become the bright side itself.  

When asked to simply think of something good on the spot, the flurry of thoughts can be confusing and may lead a person to think that nothing good has happened, since they cannot pinpoint a concrete example right there in the moment. Rather, daily records and reinforcement may be beneficial for outlining positive elements in one’s life. Taking a photo of oneself with supports after a good day, keeping a journal of a positive experience, or utilizing art therapy in times of anxiety and depression, as well as in pride and triumph can create icons of this bright side, and contextualize each person’s experience with their wider accomplishments. Asking someone to “look on the bright side” doesn’t have to come with an immediate answer, and the greater effects of this approach are found more in the pondering of the question itself. 

Learning to look on the bright side is very difficult, but it is important to be able to objectively view your strides through recovery. At The Guest House, we can work with you through individual, group, or family therapy to help establish your personalized recovery model and employ a number of different approaches, based on your specific needs and goals. Adventure therapy, cinema therapy, and clinical approaches such as EMDR are all available to help you explore the multitude of options available for your recovery from trauma and/or addiction. To learn more about how we can customize your time with us, call us today at (855) 483-7800.