We create and believe different stories about emotions, it depends on our upbringing.
✳️Some examples could be:
A family that suppresses "bad" emotions & just allows to express "good" emotions.
A family that believes guilt means "weak", may consider guilt as "bad".
A family who believes "getting anger out of your chest" is "good", may see expressing anger as "positive".
If a child is frightened by their parent's anger, may think of anger as "bad" & something that must be avoided.
A family that did not openly express love & affection, may consider love as a "bad" & unpleasant feeling.
It is useful to spend some time thinking about our childhood experiences. This can give us insight into how and why we struggle with certain feelings.
🧐Try to think about:
▪️What were you told about the best way to handle your emotions?
▪️What emotions did you family express freely?
▪️What emotions did your family suppress?
▪️How did the adults in your family manage their own "negative" emotions?
▪️How did the adults in your family react to your "negative" emotions
As a result, what ideas are you still carrying around today about your emotions and how to handle them?
❓Do you think emotions are either Positive/ Negative
Read this list:
I am sure most of the people reading this will consider the 4 last as positive & the rest negative.
We tend to judge an emotion as "negative" or "bad" because it feels unpleasant, uncomfortable in our body.
However, just because some sensations and urges are uncomfortable does not mean they are "bad" for us.
"bad" is just a thought, a judgment made by our "thinking self"
Check more in this post.
It is important to be curious about our feelings, allowing ourselves to feel them at the same time that we feel safe and in control. Therefore, practicing noticing how we feel in our body, naming the emotions, writing down the thoughts, etc. , can really make a difference. Once we have done this, it is important to identify which strategies are helpful to bring us back to the Optimal Level of Arousal, and slowly build up a tolerance to feel distressing feelings with a better sense of control and agency.
Some of the examples of coping/ self-soothing strategies I propose for each state are:
😠When finding yourself in hyper-arousal try:
✳️deep breathing with long exhales ✳️shaking
✳️weighted blanket- accupressure mat
✳️smelling scents (essential oils/ candles)
✳️listening to music
✳️use a squeeze ball
✳️safe place imagery
😦When finding yourself in hypo-arousal try:
✳️short, shallow breathing
✳️movement- exercise- dancing- yoga
✳️mindfulness of the 5 senses
✳️rubbing ice cube on your body
✳️listening to music
✳️read something engaging
✳️be social .
⚠️Note: maybe some of them will not work for you. Please listen to your body when trying these and adjust / change / stop when necessary.
Check a visual image in my post.
Dr. Dan Siegel coined the term Window of Tolerance, this is the optimal zone of arousal where we are able to manage and thrive in every day life. .
Our window of tolerance can be narrow or wide and is different for all people and at different times in our lives.
When we are outside of our window of tolerance because we perceive a threat / don't feel safe, our nervous system responds by going into Survival Mode. .
Sometimes the nervous system activation and its consequent arousal can feel "too much" taking us up into Hyper-arousal or down into Hypo-arousal. .
😠HYPER-AROUSAL- Activates the Fight/ Flight response- Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)
anxious panicky, angry, emotionally overwhelmed, unsafe, tense, stuck in worry thoughts, hypervigilant, impulsive. .
😦HYPO-AROUSAL- Activates Immobility response- Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)- Ventral Vagal
numb, shut down, disconnected, low in energy, heavy, zoned-out, dizzied, depressed.
✔️OPTIMAL LEVEL OF AROUSAL- Activates Social Engagement response- Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)- Dorsal Vagal .
✳️What can we do? .
✔️Name the emotions, sensations, thoughts: this allows for a sense of understanding. .
✔️Focus mindfully on noticing how our body feels physically, allowing space to be and feel: this allows for a sense of validation and is a powerful grounding tool. .
✔️Try to identify what we need to do to move back to optimal arousal: Identify coping strategies that work for us. .
🎯The goal is to essentially broaden this window of tolerance, increasing capacity for people to hold emotional experiences (even intense ones) without become dysregulated or going into a state of hyper or hypo arousal by using the appropriate coping strategies needed at each given time.
Check more about this topic here.
Attachment is a regulator of emotional experience.
The type of attachments we form with our primary caregivers will be a predictor of the types of attachment we expect to form in adulthood. It will create a blueprint and it will be reenacted in every relationship we have.
We, as humans are wired to connect to our earliest caregivers.
These patterns of connection affect: .
✳️How we cope with different environments
✳️How we interact with others – communication and emotional patterns
✳️How we recover from stress – emotional resilience
🧐Attachment Types- explained
Able to tolerate stress, interpret & respond appropriately, remain calm.
Able to communicate emotions & needs, self-sufficient, emotionally available, able to set healthy boundaries.
Misattuned to child's needs responding to own needs first. Unpredictability & inconsistency.
Adult is: "People pleaser", need constant reassurance, very sensitive to threat & rejection, struggles to communicate own needs, "helper", values closeness / intimacy. .
Disconnected from physical & emotional connections. Rejects the child & is left to navigate emotions alone.
Feels uncomfortable with intimacy, tends to "push people away", hide real feelings, high alert for signs of being controlled, distrusting, independent. .
Caregiver could have experienced trauma, it could be seen as a safe haven & source of fear at the same time. Pervasive pattern of extremely inadequate, insufficient & contradictory responses.
Wants intimacy but fears it, expects to be hurt, disconnected self, unable to regulate emotionally, difficulty distinguishing between safety & danger.
Find more info here.
Because Self-Care can take many forms.
✔️Self-care IS to exercise your rights like saying no, ignoring other people’s advice, prioritize your needs first, take a break if you need it, allowing yourself to make mistakes and be accountable, treating yourself with compassion and taking a non-judgmental approach, voicing your opinion, be in disagreement, set boundaries, deciding freely if you want to help someone or not, not giving justifications, be loved and respected.
❌Self-care is NOT an “I have to” or “I should”, feeling bad or guilty for not “doing”, is not done to impress anybody, does not have to cost money, it is not follow what is trendy if it does not feel okay, forcing you to do or get rid of emotions/ thoughts to just have “happy thoughts”.
Check this visual wheel on Instagram.
Let’s talk about SELF-CARE.
We can describe it as the intention of takin action around our physical, emotional, relational and spiritual well-being. .
To acknowledge our needs, prioritize what is important to us and validate our rights are acts of SELF-CARE.
THIS IS NOT BEING SELFISH. .
Types of Self-Care .
Involves activities that improve & take care of your physical health & facilitates the connection with your own body.
Examples: walking, running, exercising, playing a sport, stretching, yoga, dancing, taking warm baths, eating healthy foods, checking your health regularly, touching yourself with affection, skin-care routines, doing nails, hair, essential oils, listening to your body needs, getting sunlight & fresh air. .
👩👩👧👧RELATlONAL / SOCIAL
Involves activities that nurtures and deepens the relationships with people in your life.
Examples: setting healthy boundaries, engaging in relationships, time with others, creating support systems, positive social media, communicating thoughts/feelings/ideas to others, asking for help.
🧠EMOTIONAL / MENTAL
Involves activities that improve & take care of your mental health. Identifying what you feel and move forward honoring yourself. Declutter your mind and reduce your stress levels.
Examples: being in touch with your emotions, journaling, being compassionate, practicing gratitude, meditation, conscious breathing, doing art, engaging in therapy, reading, taking courses, taking breaks, acknowledging & following your needs. .
Involves activities to deepen your connection with your higher self (essence) & bring meaning to your life.
Examples: meditation, contemplation, journaling, finding purpose, engaging in community, connecting with nature, finding a sacred place, rituals, praying, singing mantras, lighting up candles, incense.
Check out more here!
🤔What do you do when you have a problem?
Usually you try to find a solution ✔️
But what happens when the solution is part of the problem? 😱
This is known as a ⭕VICIOUS CYCLE
In the world of human emotions, vicious cycles are very common.
🔎 One example could be when you are afraid of rejection and so you avoid social situations where possible. this will make you feel even more rejected which is the very thing you fear!
🔎Another example could be when you experience tension at home with your partner and you avoid the conflict by staying longer hours at work, feeling even more dissatisfied with the relationship and increasing the tension.
These attempts to control how we feel are called CONTROL STRATEGIES.
They can be divided in fight / flight strategies, involving fighting and trying to dominate unwanted thoughts/feelings or running away/ hiding from them.
3.Zoning out/ Numbing
✔️It's okay to use them when:
1. It's only in moderation
2. It's only in situations where they can work
3. Using them doesn't stop you from doing the things you value
❌ It can become problematic when
1. You use them excessively
2. You use them in situations where they can’t work
3. Using them stops you from doing the things you truly value
🔎 An example of this could be if you are worried about upcoming exams, you may try to distract yourself from the anxiety by watching some TV. This is fine if you’re only doing it every now and then, but if you do it too much, you will spend all your evenings watching TV and you won’t get any studying done. This, in turn, will create more anxiety as your studies fall further behind. The distraction strategy wont’ work in the long run and will prevent you from achieving something you truly value.
Find more in my Instagram
😁 Myths about happiness 😁
(adapted from the ACT model)
#1 Happiness is the natural state for all human beings
#2 If you are not happy, you are defective
#3 To create a better life, we must get rid of negative feelings
#4 You should be able to control what you think and feel
This myths make up the basic blueprint for the happiness trap
What is happiness?
Common meaning is "feeling good". The other far less common meaning is "living a rich, full, and meaningful life".
This is not some fleeting feeling but a profound sense of a life well lived. .
Life will give us undoubtedly many pleasurable things but it will also give us uncomfortable ones
such as sadness, fear and anger. .
This is only to be expected.
If we live a full life, we will feel the full range of human emotions.
Learning the process of Self-Regulation can help you cope and manage feelings of extreme stress and dysregulation.
Our ability to self-regulate as an adult has roots in our development during childhood. How our caregivers responded when we were stressed marked a learned conditioning that we carry with us to adulthood. Our childhood is where the subconscious mind is formed. It is when we learn how to process emotions and what relationships with others look like.
Self-regulation can be described as the ability to direct our own thoughts, emotions and behaviours towards a goal. Gaining control instead of being reactive.
Self- regulation involved taking a pause between a feeling and an action.
What are some basic exercises that we can start using to learn the process of self-regulation:
Exercises to Self-Regulate
👁️Practice conscious awareness
🌬️Practice deep belly breathing- activates parasympathetic nervous system (calming)
📝Journal the feelings that come up- name them- put them out – do not give them attention, just write them down and leave it there.
🧘♀️Notice your body- what sensations do you feel in your body?
You can find more in my Instagram post.
Are you thinking of doing therapy but you are not sure what value will bring you?
✔️ A better understanding of where you are at and where you want to go.
✔️ An opportunity to learn about and listen to yourself.
✔️ A space to explore your own resources that have already helped you this far.
✔️ A chance to find new strengths in yourself to move forward.
✳️ THERAPY IS NOT ABOUT TELLING YOU WHAT TO DO OR WHAT YOU NEED TO CHANGE
Take a look at this Instagram post to know more.
Estás pensando en hacer terapia pero no estás segur@ de qué te aportaría?
✔️ Una mayor comprensión del momento en el que encuentras y hacia dónde te gustaría llegar.
✔️ Una oportunidad para aprender a escucharte a ti mism@
✔️ Un espacio donde explorsr tus propios recursos personales, que ya te han ayudado hasta el momento.
✔️ Un acompañamiento en la búsqueda de nuevas fortalezas internas para seguir adelante y cumplir objetivos.
✳️ HACER TERAPIA NO ES DECIRTE LO QUE DEBES HACER O CAMBIAR. ES UN PROCESO DE AUTOCONOCIMIENTO Y TOMA DE DECISIONES.
We are living a unique moment
You need to know that you are doing the best you can
There is no better or worse way of processing / managing this situation
Now more than ever
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Forget about the ' I should' ' I have to'
Try not to compare yourself to others
Do whatever you can
Remember: you are doing the best you can with what you know and have today, not yesterday, not tomorrow.
We can find this narrative everywhere on social media: “be productive”, “use your time to pick a new hobby, finish that book you were reading, learn how to cook new recipes, do more exercise, learn how to dance”. I believe this has good intentions and it may be working for some people. .
However, this can also produce more anxiety and make you feel that you are not doing what other are doing, or what you ‘should’ be doing. This trend of ‘doing’ can guide us to keep running down the ‘fast lane’ and could be turning us away from something that we may need more than ever: ‘self-reflection’ (if you can make time for it). .
You can treat this quarantine as a break from ‘doing’ and the ‘fast lane’. Do what you have to do. You don’t need to “make something out of this”. .
🧘♀️ JUST BE & BREATHE
Find more in my Instagram post.