Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW
I was doing an intake (an initial meeting) the other day and was pleased to be meeting with someone who had an acupuncturist, a Chinese medicine doctor, and a yoga practice.
From where I sit, it doesn’t matter what types of support a person has—be it a social group or a creative passion or a church community or a chiropractor—but what matters is that a person has more than one source of emotional food.
When people have multiple sources of inspiration, health, joy, healing, and growth they just plain feel better.
There are multilayered effects at work: First of all, we treat our valuables differently than we treat our dust bunnies. Valuables we protect, dust bunnies we ignore. So if we spend time and money on our wellbeing we are automatically treating ourselves as valuable, which translates into higher self esteem.
Second the combination of what constitutes the support we need changes over time and circumstance, so in addition to therapy at one point in our lives we might need an art class and a ukulele to feel alive, and at another we might need a twelve step group and a meditation retreat or a prescription for antidepressants and a poetry journal. So trying different things at different times means it’s more likely that we will have our changing needs met.
Third, no matter how much you love bananas, you will come to hate them if that’s all you eat. We all have just enough ADHD to need novelty as a core psychological requirement.
So many of us go through our lives following the well worn paths of our families of origin. It’s familiar, it’s safe, but there is a whacky, beautiful world out there with sunsets (remember those?) and open air marketplaces in remote foreign lands. Embracing an attitude of experimentation means we lead more interesting lives and get to tell better stories.
This weekend I found myself boosting a 75 year old woman up a climbing wall so that she could post a picture on Facebook for her grandkids. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!