Posts Tagged self help

A Simple Strategy to Let Go of Painful Thoughts and Feelings


English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

English: Managing emotions – Identifying feelings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one wants to experience pain.  Whether it’s physical, emotional or mental, once we’ve encountered pain, it’s natural to want it to end.

But, if you pay attention, you will likely find that there are certain emotionally or mentally painful circumstances that you get caught in.  Maybe it’s the angry thoughts about someone who has hurt you or pessimistic thinking about troubles you have faced.

Each of us has a tendency to get caught in certain types of thinking that prolongs painful emotions.  Instead of enjoying a relaxing evening, we might find ourselves ruminating on something hurtful someone said or rather than solving a difficult problem and moving on, you may find you are again and again drawn to thoughts about how unfair your circumstances are.

Sometimes it seems as if the mind just wants to hold on to these painful thoughts and circumstances.  Even as we try to get rid of unpleasant thoughts, we may find ourselves rethinking and reliving painful situations.

Try this:

  • Take a situation that you often find yourself either avoiding and pushing away or painful stuck in.  It may be a situation in which you are ruminating and worried or one that you are fearful of and want to avoid dealing with.
  • When you encounter that situation or thoughts and feelings about that situation, don’t attempt to engage in thinking about it and, at the same time, don’t try to push your thoughts and feelings away.
  • Focus instead on noticing your experience.  You might say to yourself “I’m thinking angry thoughts about that” or “It’s painful to remember my mistake.”  Allow yourself to observe, without judging the situation, your thoughts about the situation or your feelings.

Over time, as you observe your own internal response to this situation, you will find that you no longer need to ruminate about it or push it away.  You will be able to recognize your self-judgments and criticisms of others and let them be.  The pain and the need to attach to it or push it away will pass and you will be able to let it go.

Still having trouble letting go?  In his book, Full Catastrophe LivingJon Kabat-Zinn suggests that when something has a strong hold on your mind, try to direct your attention to what “holding on” feels like.  Become an expert in understanding your own attachment to this worry or problem.  Even when you are struggling to let go, you can become skilled at understanding yourself and the consequences of both holding on and letting go.

You can find more strategies to improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and here for podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.

 

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5 mind-bending facts about dreams


sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

5 mind-bending facts about dreams

By Jeanna Bryner

LiveScience

When your head hits the pillow, for many it’s lights out for the conscious part of you. But the cells firing in your brain are very much awake, sparking enough energy to produce the sometimes vivid and sometimes downright haunted dreams that take place during the rapid-eye-movement stage of your sleep.

Why do some people have nightmares while others really spend their nights in bliss? Like sleep, dreams are mysterious phenomena. But as scientists are able to probe deeper into our minds, they are finding some of those answers.

Here’s some of what we know about what goes on in dreamland.

1. Violent dreams can be a warning sign

As if nightmares weren’t bad enough, a rare sleep disorder — called REM sleep behavior disorder — causes people to act out their dreams, sometimes with violent thrashes, kicks and screams. Such violent dreams may be an early sign of brain disorders down the line, including Parkinson’s disease and dementia, according to research published online July 28, 2010, in the journal Neurology. The results suggest the incipient stages of these neurodegenerative disorders might begin decades before a person, or doctor, knows it.

2. Night owls have more nightmares

Staying up late has its perks, but whimsical dreaming is not one of them. Research published in 2011 in the journal Sleep and Biological Rhythms, revealed that night owls are more likely than their early-bird counterparts to experience nightmares.

In the study 264 university students rated how often they experienced nightmares on a scale from 0 to 4, never to always, respectively. The stay-up-late types scored, on average, a 2.10, compared with the morning types who averaged a 1.23. The researchers said the difference was a significant one, however, they aren’t sure what’s causing a link between sleep habits and nightmares. Among their ideas is the stress hormone cortisol, which peaks in the morning right before we wake up, a time when people are more prone to be in REM, or dream, sleep. If you’re still sleeping at that time, the cortisol rise could trigger vivid dreams or nightmares, the researchers speculate. [ Top 10 Spooky Sleep Disorders ]

3. Men dream about sex

As in their wake hours, men also dream about sex more than women do. And comparing notes in the morning may not be a turn-on for either guys or gals, as women are more likely to have experienced nightmares, suggests doctoral research reported in 2009 by psychologist Jennie Parker of the University of the West of England.

She found women’s dreams/nightmares could be grouped into three categories: fearful dreams (being chased or having their life threatened); dreams involving the loss of a loved one; or confused dreams.

4. You can control your dreams

If you’re interested in lucid dreaming, you may want to take up video gaming. The link? Both represent alternate realities, said Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada.

“If you’re spending hours a day in a virtual reality, if nothing else it’s practice,” Gackenbach told LiveScience in 2010. “Gamers are used to controlling their game environments, so that can translate into dreams.” Her past research has shown that people who frequently play video games are more likely than non-gamers to have lucid dreams where they view themselves from outside their bodies; they were also better able to influence their dream worlds, as if controlling a video-game character.

That level of control may also help gamers turn a bloodcurdling nightmare into a carefree dream, she found in a 2008 study. This ability could help war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Gackenbach reasoned.

5. Why we dream

Scientists have long wondered why we dream, with answers ranging from Sigmund Freud’s idea that dreams fulfill our wishes to the speculation that these wistful journeys are just a side effect of rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Turns out, at least part of the reason may be critical thinking, suggests Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett who presented her theory in 2010 at the Association for Psychological Science meeting in Boston.

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Her research revealed that our slumbering hours may help us solve puzzles that have plagued us during daylight hours. The visual and often illogical aspects of dreams make them perfect for the out-of-the-box thinking that is necessary to solve some problems, she speculates.

So while dreams may have originally evolved for another purpose, they have likely been refined over time for multiple tasks, including helping the brain reboot and helping us solve problems, she said.

via 5 mind-bending facts about dreams – Vitals.

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Video: About Psychodynamic Psychotherapy


Video: About Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
By JOHN M. GROHOL, PSYD
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Joseph Burgo, one of our bloggers here at Psych Central, has recently inaugurated a new series of videos about psychodynamic psychotherapy, aimed at people who may be considering treatment and don’t know quite what to expect from this particular type of therapy.

His first video deals with the intake or initial consultation, focusing on the anxieties felt by both client and therapist as they embark upon a new relationship with a total stranger. His next video will focus on the types of issues that come up during the first few sessions; in future, he plans to cover other issues such as: the emergence of the transference, vacation breaks, the role of humor, therapist errors, etc.

These videos will appear on his YouTube channel and Dr. Burgo will announce each new one via his Therapy Case Notes blog. Even if you’re already familiar with psychodynamic psychotherapy, his thoughts about first sessions apply to all types of treatment and may be of interest:

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Self-care and Creative Achievement | The Creative Mind


Self-care and Creative Achievement | The Creative Mind

Self-care and Creative Achievement
By DOUGLAS EBY

Developing our creative ideas and projects demands focus, energy and emotional balance, in addition to tools and materials.

Especially if you are a highly sensitive person, as many or most creative people are, you will be more effective and productive in your creative life by exercising conscious self-care.

Creativity and life coach Jenna Avery notes that for “Sensitive Souls, standard formulas don’t work well, like 40-plus-hour workweeks, commutes, fluorescent lights, and cubicles.

“We require physically and emotionally supportive environments along with plenty of independence and privacy. In addition, each sensitive person has specific challenges – such as people, noise, or light. It’s important to know which of these are significant for you and to learn how to address them.”

She adds, “For example, you might bring in an incandescent lighting source or create a cubicle of plants to define your space. You might also learn protective energy techniques for interpersonal challenges.”

From article: “Work that Works for Sensitive Souls: Six Steps to Transforming Your Career” by Jenna Avery.

Jenna Avery is a highly sensitive coach and intuitive who offers Self-Study Classes for Sensitive Souls, a Writers Circle group, and other programs for creative people at JennaAvery.com.

Whether you are working on your own or in a business setting, you may face challenges interacting with other people – as well as getting help and support from them. So paying more attention to how you feel and function with others can be a form of self-care.

A former psychotherapist, Lisa Riley now provides Creativity Coaching.

In her article “5 Ways to Be Kind to Your Creative Self” she notes it is “common for artists and creative professionals to be their worst critic. As creative individuals we beat ourselves up if our productivity or level of creativity doesn’t match up to our expectations.”

Dealing with self-criticism and “learning how to treat yourself with kindness is essential to your professional development and most importantly in surviving the challenges of pursuing a career in a creative industry.”

Here are her suggestions for ways to be compassionate towards yourself, to help support your healthy physical and emotional life as a creator.

1. Acceptance

Accepting things as they are is a great way to give yourself permission to be exactly where you’re at in your creative process even if that means struggling to maintain motivation or coming up with ideas. In other words, not judging your current situation as good or bad, but that it is what it is.

2. Letting Go of Expectations

Sometimes, we place too rigid or high expectations on ourselves. For instance, some creative professionals have this idea that success means creativity would come easy for them, when in reality, creativity is an ebb and flow process.

So, always evaluate if your expectations are reasonable or unpractical and don’t be afraid to modify them in order to be more flexible.

3. Say Kind Words to Yourself

It’s interesting how without question, many of us treat our loved ones, the people we care about with loving-kindness. Yet when it comes to ourselves, we’re not so kind. We are quick to judge and tell ourselves unkind words. Adopting a nurturing and supportive inner voice is a huge part of practicing self-compassion.

Become aware of the statements that you tell yourself. Are they nurturing or are they critical? Are they supportive or are they judgmental? Are they kind or are they mean?

4. Focus on the Successes in your Past

When we’re struggling with our creativity, it’s easy to lose sight of our past accomplishments. We begin to define ourselves with struggling. Don’t forget how far you’ve come and what you have accomplished this far.

When we forget our strengths, talents and past accomplishments, we judge ourselves negatively versus treating ourselves with kindness.

5. Small Achievements are Equally Deserving

Whether your art is showcased in a local paper versus a national art magazine or you directed a commercial versus a blockbuster, it’s important to give yourself credit for even the small achievements. Even if you haven’t yet arrived at your ultimate goal, your small successes are vital stepping stones.

So, don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for even the little accomplishments.

Read more articles by Lisa Riley on her blog, and see her multiple Products for Your Creative Success on her site The Art of Mind.

[Photo: Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown, from my Facebook page The Inner Entrepreneur.]

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