Powerful video

I have been meaning to share this for quite some time. This video has been very helpful to me and to my clients. It’s so amazing how things present themselves right when we need them. It was amazing to see a theme in the last month of how many people I could share this with and that it applied specifically to their life–yet all dealing with different struggles. Powerful message.

As research has shown, our thoughts are powerful. So when we shift our thinking from “I’m [a] depressed [person]” to “I’m experiencing [sadness, depression, anxiety, frustration, grief]” then that emotion shifts which changes our behaviors as well.

Our emotional experiences do ebb and flow. Sometimes we get stuck in these emotions and can begin to feel hopeless that they will never go away. Anecdotally, I think this is when there becomes that “stuck” feeling in therapy and it can be a difficult moment to get past because somewhere along the way the feeling [sadness, anxiety, anger] has latched on and become “a part” of someone. It’s much harder to “shake off” when it’s who you are. But, if we do not identify with what brings us pain and suffering like this man suggests, perhaps it then becomes easier to overcome.

The last part I want to make note of is my favorite part of the video. I fully admit it’s probably due to the mindfulness/DBT like aspect to it. “I observe it, allow it to come, and go, without resisting it.” Radically accepting the reality of the situation. It is what it is. This is what I’m experiencing. “Huh…  hmm… Interesting…” Having curiosity about what you’re experiencing. Watching it. Observing how it feels. Riding the wave through the emotion. Allowing it to come and allowing it to go.  But not judging it. Not judging yourself for it being present.

So I encourage you now to do a body scan. This is a mindfulness skill. Sit comfortably, breathe deeply. What are you physically feeling? Tension? Relaxation? Warm? Cold? What are you feeling emotionally? Content? Sad? Anger? Anxiety? Breathe it in and breathe it out. Not judging it or yourself. It is your present moment and that is reality. Reality is okay. As the moment passes, decide what you want for your next moment. I hope you seek out something enjoyable and have a pleasant rest of your day.

 

 

Vulnerability

Shame (and guilt) seem to be the two emotions that I’ve seen get more people stuck in their progress in therapy than any other emotions. I think they are the two emotions that are the most difficult to work through and the most excruciating when we allow them to stay in our heart. I set off to find more information on how to help clients break through this feeling of being “stuck.” I recently was given links to Brene Brown’s TED Talks on her research on shame. Her work is powerful–I hope you’ll take the time to watch.

Here are her TED talks on Shame and Vulnerability.

 

What she found in her research was that people were able to feel connected, feel love and belonging, when, and only when they were able to practice true vulnerability and be their true, authentic self. She described people that were able to do this as people who she called, “Whole-Hearted” people. She points out that these people don’t describe vulnerability as good nor bad, not being comfortable but also not excruciating.

The other part–the most important piece–is that in order to be one of these people. All one has to do is believe they are worthy of love and belonging. And so that is where our work begins! That is where I want to meet my clients–helping them develop a sense of worthiness. You are worthy of love and belonging just because you are you. You are imperfect AND you are worthy.

So let’s embrace vulnerability as Brene tells us that vulnerability is the birth place of our joy, love, belonging, and our worthiness. The work is uncomfortable but the rewards will outweigh the difficult progress. So I encourage you to “lean into the discomfort” and embrace vulnerability to find your worthiness.

Responding to Anger

This Mother’s Soothing Reaction to Her Son’s Fit of Rage Can Teach Us All a Lesson in Parenting.

After reading that article that a colleague posted, I felt very moved. What an amazing ability that mother had to pause and collect herself before reacting.

Anger is a powerful emotion. Many times, people tend to have the misconception that we are supposed to not be angry, suppress the anger, hide it. But, why do we have anger then? Anger serves a purpose. We’re meant to have it. So what do we do with it?

Anger can drive us to do things differently, anger can show us our beliefs, anger can help define our expectations, and it can protect us in some ways.

Look underneath the anger, what’s driving it? Are you feeling hurt? sad? disappointed? lonely? embarrassed? Step into that discomfort, seek out your vulnerability, respond accordingly in a way that will strengthen the relationship or improve the situation.

 

Be Still

The idea for this blog post was sparked by a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” How often do we feel unhappy by what others have that we don’t? The old “grass is always greener” type mentality.

Not comparing oneself to those around us is easier said than done. However, if mastered (or even just a constant acknowledgment to work on this skill) this can truly be a game changer in our lives. Mindfulness (being in the moment) is a way to slow things down, savor the moment, and in turn helps us enjoy each moment. It takes the distraction and noise out of the picture and allows us to focus on one thing at a time.

Practicing mindfulness takes patience and just like any skill, takes times to do it well. So, on your way to becoming more mindful, do so non-judgmentally (such as don’t get upset at yourself when you’re unmindful). Ways to practice mindfulness include savoring a piece of chocolate, watch and observe the clouds go by, listen to an instrumental piece of music while trying to focus on all of the different instruments that you hear without getting lost in your thoughts.

For more reading about mindfulness you can check out:  http://www.dbtselfhelp.com/html/mindfulness.html

As you improve in your ability to be mindful, I believe that you will find that you are better able to enjoy each moment and therefore you are able to be still and appreciate the here and now.

 

 

Motivation to Change

It’s the start of a new week. Many people often make statements of change starting at the beginning of a new week. Everyone knows that change is typically a difficult thing to do but I’m in the business of change and therefore may have a more optimistic outlook on change. I enjoy helping others feel the same sense of optimism about the change process.

I think the part that makes change difficult is that the change process should feel uncomfortable to some degree. It’s thinking outside of the box, doing things differently, and challenging yourself. Maya Angelou is quoted to have said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” If you remember any biology class you will recall that the process can be quite… unrefined… but in the end it’s a beautiful outcome.

The good news is our change process does not have to be quite that difficult. The first part of the change process that I help my clients with is to determine the goal. What is it that you want? Why is this important? How will you know you’ve achieved the goal? But most importantly… are you ready to do the work to change?

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Being aware of where we are in regards to how ready we are to change is highly important. That way, when we’re ready we can devote our efforts into making our new patterns. Socrates wrote, “The secret to change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.” I think that’s very true. Focusing on the new and the positive rather than being stuck in our past ruts is a very helpful strategy in the change process.

Change is exciting to me. I take on a sincere responsibility to walk with my clients on their path to change and I love watching my clients meet their goals. Is there anything in your life that isn’t working for you right now? Is it causing problems at work, with friends, with family, or even just within yourself? If there is, it may be time to think about seeking out support to help you make a change.

-Mary