Mental Wellness

-Curiosity as a catalyst for moving through difficult times-

It is not because things are different that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.


How to navigate difficult times? How to navigate change with ease and curiosity instead of fear? That’s a pertinent question that comes to my mind in peculiar times because Change can be exciting but also scary, confusing, or messy.

There is no doubt that change is a constant in our lives, even at a cellular level we change daily, by the second, by the minute but our bodies are so smart that make these shifts in a safe, structured and unseeing manner So we don’t feel intensely the internal earthquakes of growth and death.

Moments of change require a strong need for a safe space to navigate this phase with less tension.

Maybe we are changing jobs, divorcing, getting married, starting a new relationship, or changing country and all of these have an impact so the question remains, how can we make these life adjustments with a sense of stability?

I became tired of dealing with impeding change the same way I was dealing, I used to overwhelm me or catastrophize the situations so I decided to stop and started asking myself why not use curiosity over fear? What do I gain by criticizing myself and choosing disempowering voices? Why not choose courage and compassion? Where did I learn to overwhelm myself in times of change? Maybe I can do better? Maybe I’m able to get through this? Why wouldn’t I overcome this? Is it helpful? Is it a function of trauma from the past? Because how we cope with stressful events is correlated to past childhood experiences we learned from our caretakers how to deal with certain emotions by observation, we absorbed direct and indirect messages correlated to self-regulation.

So I decided to use my favorite strategy questioning, adding curiosity to it and with that I created a list of small antidotes that would be my helpers in times of change and by that, I discovered that I don’t necessarily need suffering and overwhelm to experience change, I can choose the state of mind and spirit that I want to use to confront situations.

All you need to do to receive guidance is to ask for it and then listen.

Sanaya Roman 

I learned to embrace change with open arms, using strategic Mindset habits to cope with transitions in my life, and this doesn’t mean that I don’t feel frazzled from time to time but now I know how to self-regulate and shift my set of mind for a more helpful one.

The antidotes 

Here goes a small list of the antidotes I use that help me navigate change with ease and peace

  • Journaling
  • Feel your feelings
  • Take action- Fun
  • Your ally -Words of affirmation

~Journaling- Questioning~

 Keep a notebook. Travel with it, eat with it and sleep with it. Slap into it every stray thought that flutters up into your brain. Jack London

A question that usually gives clarity and space for structured reflection could be: Is this an Irreversible or reversible decision? When was a time I went through something difficult and how was I able to overcome it? What was my energy? What action steps I did? Is it necessary to overwhelm me?

Journaling these questions help gain clarity and perspective so we move in confidence through change, it’s important to not abandon your journaling when unpleasant pieces of clarity surface because the more you face the fear the more you can surpass it. – change in any shape or form will always evoke feelings like sadness, anger, or despair, and it is normal to feel contradicting emotions, don’t block them accept them as part of the process of not denying ourselves and teaching ourselves that what we feel is relevant and we are capable of overcoming it. Recovery and healing come only when we dare to sit down with our emotions.

~Acceptance-Feel your feelings~

It’s okay to feel your feelings and being emotionally challenged by them, surrendering to change and accepting the feelings of sadness, worry, anxiety, fear doesn’t mean being complacent or weak it means acceptance of what is and having the courage to do the grieving work process because we know that grief is not only associated with Death but also with the motions of life which in part is like the process of death.

By feeling the feelings we honor ourselves, we give attention to our minds, spirit and we release everything that blocks us so we don’ create long-lasting unresolved stored trauma. It’s emotional hygiene and an act of self-love.

The act of labeling our feelings without judgment can help regulate emotions. Emotions come and go like waves if we let them.

When we ignore our feelings it creates a “boomerang’ effect where the emotions will come back later, and stronger than before.

~ Take action and sprinkle fun in it ~

Take a break from your emotional drama and take action in a warm and fun way, infusing my time, music, prayer, or self-compassioned conversation to the self in difficult times. It’s a way of giving space to surpass challenges with ease and a lighter heart, sometimes feeling the feelings can be too much or overwhelming so bit by bit we can infuse small acts of pleasure and joy to help in the process of taking action on the new decisions we made around how we are going to operate and act on the impending change from now on.

~Words of affirmation~

A good pep talk of encouraging words is always good for the soul, words of affirmation can infuse energy, courage, and excitement in difficult moments, and it’s proven by science that affirming yourself by using affirmations can help change negative thought patterns into positive ones, influence the subconscious mind to access new beliefs, Motivate you to act and boost self-confidence. And why not try it? it’s never a bad idea to try it, doesn’t hurt anybody and it’s a self-demonstration of care and profound respect for the inner self. The more we affirm ourselves the more we become stronger, compassionate, loving, and confident in regards to ourselves. So we don’t develop a dependence on waiting for others to affirm us, this doesn’t mean that we don’t accept kind words from others it simply means we can generate them and be the progenitors of our peace of mind in life.

Here are a couple of examples of words of affirmation to use in these moments:

I can change in ease and peace

I can feel my feelings it’s safe and I can move on 

I’m capable of confronting my fears 

No matter what happens I’m protected 

Change doesn’t need to be overwhelming 

These mantras or affirmations seem whoosh washy but they help the soul, So my loves, I wish we can reimagine and shift our perspective and relation to change to a more balanced or moderate way so we can surpass the variables of life with courage, chest open and maybe a quirky smile on our faces.

With that being said, may you be in peace and not in pieces.

by emilia duarte

Emília Duarte is a Mozambican multidisciplinary artist , she interconnects writing, illustrations and painting. Her art is the ultimate expression of what most presses her mind. She is largely inspired by the beauty of things in her surroundings - details in the built environment-her travels and the relationship individuals have with their objects move her deeply.
The artist has a spontaneous relationship with art, emotional and visual sincerity are crucial; as Picasso said, "I put in my pictures everything I like" and that is exactly what she does.
Writing plays a crucial role in Emilia Duarte's life, it is impossible to think about painting or drawing without writing her emotions or reflections.
Emilia Duarte holds a degree in organizational psychology, a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology, a degree in journalism and has a background in fashion design.


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