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Emotions are Information

Being a truly well and self-satisfied individual rests on the ability to understand the information that emotions give you and to be able to skillfully utilize and respond to the information. Unfortunately, most of us are struggling with our emotions. I think this is because emotions have been vilified in our culture. Often clients come in asking to get rid of feelings or to “manage” them. This isn’t wrong or bad necessarily, but it represents the type of relationship we we have with our emotions: we see them as a nuisance, something that “gets in the way” of our lives. They are to be controlled or eliminated. This is an unhelpful stance. Emotions are not negative or extraneous, but rather an important aspect of being human. Emotions give us information that is impossible to perceive in any other way. However,     . . . read more

Emotions and the Binge- How I Learned to Sit With Discomfort

Note from Hannah: This is the latest installment from the New Perspectives Series. This post was contributed by Dawn Clancy (and do yourself a favor and check out her blog and radio show, Growing Up Chaotic). When I set out to write this article, I pictured myself creating it from a peaceful and reflective place. With a mug of coffee to my right, and my computer snug in my lap, my fingers would breeze across the keyboard, breathing life into the ideas gently fluttering in and out of my consciousness. However, where I find myself at this very moment, makes even the roughest of seas on the show Deadliest Catch look like water in my bathtub. I am in the midst of an emotional shakedown and sitting with discomfort has never been a strength of mine. Whenever I feel anything,     . . . read more

Belly

Note from Hannah: This piece is a guest post by Lynn Shattuck as part of the New Perspectives Series. Say the word ‘belly’ anywhere near my 17-month-old daughter, and she immediately lifts up her shirt up like a Mardi Gras reveler. “Bay-yay!” she announces with an enormous grin, her eyes wide and shining. She looks like she can’t believe her good fortune to possess her soft, poofy, paper-white stomach. When do we lose this awe of our own bodies? When does that awe turn, as it so often does, to self-loathing, particularly for women? I travelled a long way from the amazement and pride I see in my little girl. Starting at a tender age, I alternated between strict diets and overeating. I stood on the scale thousands of times, waiting for the number to tell me how to feel     . . . read more

From Surviving to Thriving

Last weekend I went to a fantastic concert, right here in Portland. Enjoying the music, I realized I was not just hearing it, but feeling it as well. There were thirteen musicians on stage, so there was a lot to watch. I felt more deeply relaxed than I had in quite some time. I felt alert but calm, my body let go of tension. My mind was focused and engaged. It seemed like an optimal state of being. Needless to say, it was highly enjoyable. This experience got me thinking about the fantastic piece, from our guest writer last week as part of the New Perspectives Series on this blog. He explains how he was able to use an evolutionary perspective to make life changes that helped improve his mental health. His perspective is that if we consider the types of foods,     . . . read more

Looking Way (Way) Back: An Evolutionary Perspective for Modern Mental Health

  Note from Hannah: This the first in a series of guest posts with the goal of providing new perspectives to mental health, wellness, and being a human. This piece was bravely shared by our guest writer, David.  My brain is broken, I thought to myself, as I sat in a plush, brown leather chair in my psychiatrist’s office; the perfect cliché- in an old brick building in downtown Portland, Maine. I stared, vacantly, through a large bay window, the sun’s rays cast upon my face, warming my skin through the white sheer curtains. Being a few stories up, I gazed at a slightly veiled view of  the modest skyline of the city I grew up in, amidst the backdrop of sparkling ocean and blue sky. The view made it easy to transport myself elsewhere, in avoidance of what I     . . . read more