Healing through Experimenting

By: Melanie Amini-Hajibashi, M.S., LPC-IT.,NCC

An old proverb shares, “give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he eats for a lifetime”. So much of the work that I do as a therapist revolves around teaching wellness to individuals through experimenting and teaching in a collaborative partnership. Many people come to therapy with a “fix me” mentality, but if I provide all the answers and solutions to my clients problems, they will never learn how to think, feel, and behave for themselves. Plus, there is no way I can know all the answers and solutions to this life we live in.

Much of healing is experimenting. No one knows all the answers that will work for everyone. Healing is not a one size fits all. Journaling may work for me, but it might not work for you. Some may find peace in the church, others find peace in nature. Therefore, it’s important to become curious scientists of the self.

The other day, my sister gave me powerful insight into what she is learning on her own personal journey; the power of data collection. She shared one way to figure out what adds to our internal cup is to have a data log. When we engage in different activities, we rank the level of enjoyment and fulfillment we feel after. This can be done using a Likert scale (o-3; with 3 being excited, alive, full of joy, and 0 being no emotional benefit), or using smiley faces. Using data collection allows us to experiment with different activities to see what works for us as individuals.

Many of us struggle to know what relaxation truly feels like. We buy into social media’s marketing of face masks and bubble baths and yet still feel drained and depleted. One reason for this is that our nervous systems are not all wired the same. For example, I know that hard group workouts make me feel alive and full of joy. The same workout might leave someone defeated and in pain. I am not coordinated enjoy for Zumba, but that might be someone’s absolute self-care activity. Experiment to find what works for you.

Here is your call to action. Pick 5 activities that you are going to try this week that might be new or activities that you’ve done in the past but never collected data. After you engage in the activity, rank your level of relaxation, enjoyment, and rippling effects of well-being the next day. At the end of the week, see which activities had the most impact and which did not.

Keep a running tab of these activities. Over time, you will gain more knowledge about what works for you; healing through experimenting.

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