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Excuses, Excuses: What Gets in the Way of Attending to Your Health?

Yesterday I wrote about what I think it means to be truly healthy. I know this kind of discussion easily lends itself to excuses and talk of how hard it is. I get it, on some level, but I really want you to be healthy. It’s too important. So humor me and read why I think the following excuses are mostly bunk:  I want to be healthy, but it’s really selfish No, it’s not. Wanting to feel well in your body is not selfish, it’s a healthy and normal desire. If you are willing to starve your children to ensure your own well-being, I’ll concede this point. But that’s not usually the case with this excuse, is it? It’s usually well-meaning people who think if they take some time and attention on their food, exercise, and emotions the world will fall     . . . read more

Are You Healthy? How Do You Know?

Everything we do and experience involves our body. Physical and mental health are not separate things. Emotions and thoughts are physiological experiences, as much as any body process. The way we eat, move our bodies, use our minds, and experience the world are all parts of overall health. This means you can’t treat your body like crap and expect to have mental health. You also can’t eat super healthy but have deeply negative thoughts about yourself and expect to be healthy. Everything you do and think impacts your health. What does it really feel like to be well? I get the sense that most people don’t even know to aspire to this because they don’t know how good they can actually feel. I’m startled at the number of seemingly well people who tell me things such as, “My stomach hurts all the     . . . read more

Compassion Fatigue and Tai Chi

This is a guest post by Celia Grand of the Riverview Foundation. Many thanks to Celia for sharing this information! compassion fatigue (dictionary.com) fatigue, emotional distress, or apathy resulting from the constant demands of caring for others or from constant appeals from charities: compassion fatigue experienced by doctors and nurses. Many of us work in high stress jobs, have too many personal responsibilities and little time to balance ourselves. Stress is a force that interferes with mental clarity, stability of emotions and physical ease. In addition to life stress, as caregivers we are susceptible to compassion fatigue. We take in volumes of overwhelming emotional material. Our bodies, mind and spirit strategize to cope with all that we hold outside of our conscious awareness. For example: our adrenal glands may pump out extra adrenaline to get us through the day while cortisol rushes through our bodies to try to bring it back into homeostasis. This taxing of our adrenals causes problems with sleep or may lead us to over eat to keep our energy going. Exercising may not energize     . . . read more

Dominant Emotional States

A few weeks ago, I wrote to Rudy Skowronski, LCSW, who is a brilliant trauma therapist in practice in Saco, Maine (you can see his full bio at the end of this post). I asked Rudy to talk about his work with Dominant Emotional States as part of the the New Perspectives Series. Rudy’s letter back to us illustrates the deep and profound work that can be done when you worked with a highly skilled therapist. Making lasting emotional changes is possible with the proper understanding and guidance. Many thanks to Rudy for this contribution. Hi All, Here is the explanation that I use to convey  my ideas around Dominant Emotional States (DES).  After the description I will write briefly about the way I use my ideas around DES in therapy with individuals couples and families. Dominant Emotional States are     . . . read more

The Surprising Reasons You Feel the Way You Do

  This week has been all about why having a deep understanding of your emotional life is essential to your well-being and the health of your relationships. Today, I will concede that this can be difficult work. I’ve argued before that emotions are information, but decoding the clues they provide sometimes takes a master sleuth. Did you know that chronic emotional states like anxiety, depression, numbness, anger, or irritability can actually be a way to cope? Many people first come to therapy because they want to decrease these emotions. However, this can be tricky for some people because these states developed as a way to cope with even more painful emotions. For example, if you witnessed a tragedy or violence, you may develop chronic anxiety to cope with terror and powerlessness. The mind wants to feel in control, so you     . . . read more

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