Rewiring a brain: 16.5

We see some of our thought patterns, we think. We think that the content may change and the thought patterns persist. In other words, we could complain about missing T-1, that Ts in general are harder to get help from, that a Child or Spouse is or is not doing X or Y. It is … Continue reading Rewiring a brain: 16.5

Practices to calm frazzled nerves

Hypervigilance, as most experiences, has shades, gradations. Many people feel a heightened sense of fear in times of high stress. If you have experienced Trauma, that increase can push you out of your window of tolerance. We are finding our baseline is now out of the window of tolerance. Practices to get back into our … Continue reading Practices to calm frazzled nerves

The hardest changes to make

Many people reading and writing blogs, and many people living human lives in relation with other humans, want to change things about themselves and their lives. Can we agree that this is a normal behavior? For us personally, in order for changes to occur, big things must eventually shift. We want to treat people with … Continue reading The hardest changes to make

New Therapist (Intake Part I)

We had our initial intake for a new therapist today. This therapist's specialty is Somatic Experiencing. Our goal in adding this fourth therapist to our lineup is to extend the mind-body connecting we started in the hospital last fall. Since fall, we tried contacting five other therapists with some sort of specialty in movement, mind-body, … Continue reading New Therapist (Intake Part I)

Empathy for those who piss us off

Everyone and everything and all experiences are teachers if and when we are receptive to the lessons. We spent much of our working career in a college, which means we spent most of our life at school. This was by choice because we like learning and teaching. Here is what Nonviolent Communication (NVC) teaches about … Continue reading Empathy for those who piss us off

What change feels like

We are practicing in therapy sitting with and surviving distressing emotions. Five days. Five therapy appointments. Four consecutive days of distress. (Mondays are usually just committing up the weekend.) Change feels like getting ill. Like influenza. People often recover from influenza. We have. DID Trauma therapist says, "What if more resourced parts of you give … Continue reading What change feels like

Small steps are most effective for making changes

It can be healthy to set goals for a new year. It can be unhealthy, too. To make it healthy, make small, sustainable changes. For example, if you want to start meditating, revive a meditation practice, or extend a meditation practice, try what feels achievable and realistic. Five minutes twice a day is a useful … Continue reading Small steps are most effective for making changes

Reframing thoughts without judgment

Negative thoughts are setting us up for a negative outlook. If we think, "We didn't do a good enough job," then we feel like a failure. We don't want to replace the negative with a positive, though, which might sound counterintuitive. Positive would probably help our outlook more than negative. And what would help the … Continue reading Reframing thoughts without judgment

What is the “Middle Way”?

Seeking pleasure ignores whatever is happening now. If we do experience pleasure, we try to cling to it. It ends anyway, and then we mourn it. Avoiding pain ignores whatever is happening now, especially when it's pain. Avoiding what is actually happening causes suffering because we want pleasure and have its opposite. We crave pleasure. … Continue reading What is the “Middle Way”?

Practice, patience, and repetition

3-day weekends are hard for us. Lots of time around other people. We and our children are much less effective at night: decision-making poorer, emotional brain overwhelms rational brain. Consequently, at night, little problems seem bigger. For us, that often leads to nightmares, and then we wake up disoriented. We finally have some alone time, … Continue reading Practice, patience, and repetition

Go big or go home? Or make little changes?

Small changes can add up. For example, say you want to have more money (ideally to pay down debt, save for retirement, or go on a vacation). If you switched to a cash-back credit card, brought home lunch and beverage to work/school every day or every other day, and  made a few other tweaks, the … Continue reading Go big or go home? Or make little changes?

Practice coping skills when you’re calm

One of the primary difficulties with incorporating new coping skills is that when you need them, you are in crisis, which often means you don't know that you need them or can't remember them! This is why it is important to practice coping skills when you're not in crisis. The barrier to practicing when you're … Continue reading Practice coping skills when you’re calm

Breaking social expectations that violate your values

Note: This blog's author often uses plural pronouns for self-reference. Most of what dictates how we are supposed to act (in public, at school, at work, etc.) is made up by people. We're not saying there is a committee actively making social norms for others to follow, though Ms. Manners and other champions of etiquette … Continue reading Breaking social expectations that violate your values

What are you doing? Why “Not pooping” is an insufficient response

When we were little and acted contrary to someone's expectations, we were usually chided with, "Don't ____." Don't hit. Don't swear. Don't drink grape juice in the living room. As adults, when we're trying to change a habit or practice, we often default to the same thinking: Don't judge. Don't yell. Don't eat that. We … Continue reading What are you doing? Why “Not pooping” is an insufficient response

Do This One Thing After a Vacation

We sometimes feel lazy when we are not being productive in some way. We self-critique that we could be doing more: more journaling, more cleaning, more problem-solving. We felt especially out of rhythm after a recent family getaway. We hadn't been journaling regularly or trying to solve any of our myriad problems. How could we … Continue reading Do This One Thing After a Vacation

Are You Intensifying Unpleasant Feelings with “The Layer”?

We keep reading in self-help books that "feelings are natural" and "judgments are dangerous." Wait, what's the difference between a feeling and a judgment? Can you have one without the other? We had to have it explained to us repeatedly, and we think we understand! If our boss says in front of coworkers, "I received … Continue reading Are You Intensifying Unpleasant Feelings with “The Layer”?