emotion regulation

Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic - Part 6 - Expressing Your Emotions

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/BearingSoulsAudio6 Just when the overwhelm of coronavirus quarantine was amplified by the distress and outrage of throngs protesting against the brutal murder of George Floyd, I stared in disbelief at an unfathomable email that appeared in my inbox. The message contained antiracism resources paired with exercises for ridding oneself of painful emotions in order to find peace and happiness. Seriously? Even NOW? A huge motivation for me to write this series about pandemic emotions was that the onslaught of mental health articles that touted mindfulness, exercise, controlling […]

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I Trust Our Capacity To Be Shattered: Breaking Open To Racism

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/CapacitytobeShatteredAudio We cannot walk out of the darkness unless we are first willing to immerse ourselves fully in it. It demands a leap of faith, for there are no signposts along the way that will guarantee our safe return. There is only a dark tunnel, leading to who-knows-where. We know the danger, we feel it in our adrenaline, pumping blood through our bodies at frightening speed. We know, intuitively, that we may never come out of the blackness. But there is no choice, for to be […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic - Part 5 - What the Emotions of Upheaval Are ABOUT

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/BearingSouls5Audio Not to make loss beautiful,But to make loss the placeWhere beauty starts. Wherethe heart understandsFor the first timeThe nature of its journey. — Gregory Orr, in Concerning The Book That Is the Body Of The Beloved Stably unstable. That’s how I’ve been feeling during these ongoing weeks of the social difficulties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve been waking up to the lie my basically hopeful self had planted way down in the shadows of my mind. Unbeknownst to me, I was believing I’d pressed “pause” on my […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic – Part 4 – Layers & Flavors of Emotion

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/BearingSouls4Audio Emotion is the messenger of love; it is the vehicle that carries every signal from one brimming heart to another. For human beings, feeling deeply is synonymous with being alive. — Lewis, Amini, & Lannon, A General Theory of Love During the first week of my city’s pandemic-stanching stay-at-home orders, I felt as if an enormous hand had slammed into the center of my chest to shove me backwards, and had left me abruptly sitting bruised on the floor of my life with eyes wide open, blinking back startled […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic – Part 3  – “Name It to Tame It”

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/SoulsPart3Audio At a moment of intensity, a failure to be understood, to be connected with emotionally, can result in a profound feeling of shame. The shame generated by missed opportunities for the alignment of states —for the feeling of emotional resonance, of “feeling felt”— can lead to withdrawal. Even with less intense states, not being understood may lead to a sense of isolation. — Daniel Siegel, The Developing Mind, Second Edition *** Last week, in the evening after writing all day, I broke down into wracking […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic – Part 2 — Why Uncertainty Is Scary

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/SoulsPart2Audio If I cease searching, then, woe is me, I am lost. That is how I look at it— keep going, keep going come what may. ― Vincent van Gogh At the end of a loooong workday last week, I felt agitated and stressed. My son was heading out for a walk, so I went with him to decompress. Stretching my legs, breathing hard, taking in the outdoors and the (socially distant) fellow walkers, agitation gave way to exhaustion. Though it was relieving to move my body, […]

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Bearing Our Souls: A Crash Course in Soothing the Overwhelming Emotions of a Pandemic – PART 1 – Stories Matter

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/SoulsPart1Audio May we face our selves, in the wilderness and the world, and recognize the forces that drive us, so that they do not always drive us. — Pádraig Ó Tuama On a Thursday evening about four weeks ago, I said goodnight to my last therapy client of the week, closed the door behind her, and turned off my waiting room lamps. The following Sunday afternoon I sat with my family at one of our favorite restaurants, raising a glass of bold red wine over a […]

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Gratitude: It’s Not For Sissies

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/GriefGratitudeAudio . How can we live gratefully? By experiencing, by becoming aware that every moment is a given moment, as we say. It’s a gift. You haven’t earned it. You haven’t brought it about in any way. You have no way of assuring that there will be another moment given to you, and yet, that’s the most valuable thing that can ever be given to us,this moment, with all the opportunity that it contains. If we didn’t have this present moment, we wouldn’t have any opportunity […]

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Feeling Anguish? Listen to Your Body. Not to Other People.

To listen to an audio reading of this post, click here or go to bit.ly/FeelingAnguishAudio . The body says what words cannot. — Martha Graham I love swimming in Austin’s amazing Barton Springs Pool — it’s cold and enlivening. Most of the time I swim there three times a week, year round. But last year my dad and my dog died in the depths of winter. It doesn’t get that cold in Austin, but it takes much more mental discipline and grit to jump into the cold spring water when it’s 25–45 degrees outside than when it’s 95! When my dad and my dog died, everything in […]

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