Ever wondered what the little voices in your head look like? Ever wanted to chat with them, tête-à-tête? Well, now you can thanks to Pixar’s new movie “Inside Out” which offers an amazing opportunity to look at our emotions to improve our relationship with them. I enjoyed watching this movie, not only as long-time Pixar fan, but also as a psychotherapist because it presents in a funny and simple way how our emotions impact our lives, keeping a hidden gem until the very end.
To save the movie for those who haven’t seen it yet, I’d just say that “Inside Out” is a story about Riley, a preteen girl facing a change in her life and the emotional journey this change brings into her life. As Ian Phillips says in his Business Insider’s blog, this movie can make a man cry. The movie is full of emotions, sure, but could it also make us think? *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
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I’m breaking out. Pimples galore- small ones, big ones, very angry red ones, shy white head ones, and everything else in between. I’m not happy! Something’s going on internally for my face to break out like this. There’s no winning. It’s a constant battle. I pop one, another appears. The one that I thought I popped and cleaned out completely then comes back with a vengeance. And so the weeks continue in this order; feel a pimple from under the skin, begin face wash routine, it comes to the surface, eventually pops, and then another arises. The strategy that I’ve taken on is one that is managing the pimples as they come up, and not a proactive one to ensure they don’t come up at all. One day, after pointing to a pimple that I thought I had popped, but really came back bigger and angrier, my boyfriend finally said, “These are stress pimples”. He was right, I wasn’t denying that. He was referring to both my work and home life stress. As supportive as he is, he understands that there are only so many ways he can be helpful and the rest is on me. Work and personal life stress were accumulating and both began to bleed into each other. I was struggling with the boundaries. Became very emotional, struggled to get through the day without breaking down into tears, started getting very snippy with those I loved and the pimples were showing no signs of retreat! I needed a new strategy! I began by breaking down the causes of distress into a pie chart; the bigger the slice, the more priority. Then I decided on which slice I would like to metaphorically eat first. I started with the smaller slices. Some slices required more processing than others, but as the weeks went on, I began to notice the pie was no longer whole, but had a couple of slices left. These slices have now become common every day struggles, you know, like what to have for dinner, or what outfit will I wear? When I began to dismiss some of the stressors as unimportant and took away its power to ally with my enemy, the pimples, the pimple army also seemed to diffuse. Now, I’m left with battle scars on my face. At the end, I’m the one that is still standing and smiling, wearing my scars proudly. By working to solve a problem only as it is happening can be progressive for a short period of time. We need to be proactive in order to ensure that the problem doesn’t come back at all, and if it does, nip it in the bud before it becomes an army of pimples.
By Bhavna Verma *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
It’s so easy to put aside the ‘to do’ list when you’re not in the right state of mind. For example, these blogs need to be submitted bi-weekly; and I, admittedly have not been submitting the blogs on time. I’m sure there are others out there like me which makes me feel validated and normal. But the blogs are not intensive; they are literally between 350-500 words which don’t take too long to produce. So, why has it taken me so long to complete and submit them? Because, my mind, heart and soul just weren’t in it. Recently, there have been a multitude of stressors in my life that have forced me to push aside projects to the back burner. And eventually, insight hit! Suddenly, it occurred to me that I was no longer in the mood to work on the blogs or other projects. I knew that the submission date was coming up, but had no inkling to work on it. We all know that lack of excitement or the pleasure feeling from activities we enjoy is a symptom of burnout. But it is up to us to become aware of the feeling and decide how long this feeling will continue for. At some point, I had to force myself to get my act together, and jump back on the wagon. I’ve committed myself to projects, and I need to follow through with them. Once I labeled my emotion towards the pending projects, it became easier to tackle them. Another variable which I feel is important is that once you have labeled the stage of burnout, you need to inform others too, such as your boss or co-workers; or even Stephanie Ross, who diligently uploads the blogs. Support from family and friends are a must in order to come out of burnout, as it is so easy to get lost in the process. This may just make you feel even worse and perpetuate the symptoms. Express to your family and friends what support you feel you need from them, as it could be different for each person. By specifying what you need, you alleviate doubt and wonder that they may be having as they may not be sure how to help you, and unintentionally end up doing more damage than good. To me, this is also a sign of insight and awareness, as you are able to recognize what helps and what doesn’t. *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
As a reminder, the thoughts expressed here are mine alone – they do not, necessarily reflect the beliefs of counsellors in general or the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.
Last time I started talking about my own experience with counseling. I recognized two points: 1. that I don’t think I make a very good client and 2, that the stigma about going to counselling is real. I talked briefly about the counsellor as the client and somehow went onto a tangent about crossing from the cognitive realm to the emotional realm. As a matter of fact I don’t think I’m quite done talking about emotions. Why do people struggle so much with accepting their emotions? I know why I avoid my feelings (counselling must be working). My emotional responses played significantly into my ability to escalate or de-escalate high crisis situations working with children and families. I also had to learn to de-personalize my emotional responses due to the nature of the issues I was dealing with (sexual abuse victims and perpetrators, suicide, victims of violence). Basically, I had to learn to “shut off” if I were to have any longevity in this field. People start being trained to not feel at a very young age. As a baby, we cry and almost instantaneously we are lifted cuddled and nurtured until we stop. When we cry, our parents change us, play, distract, and/or stick a pacifier or bottle in our mouths. As we get older, our education continues. When we are sad, parents, family and friends immediately start to cheer us up. When we are angry, we are told to not be angry. When we are afraid, we are taught to avoid the things that scare us, or are shamed into not being afraid (its only a little itty bitty spider, you shouldn’t be scared). In fact, it seems that whenever we express anything other than happiness or love, others went well out of their way to make us stop feeling that way and to make us feel better. From an infant we are taught that it is not o.k. to feel a certain way and that we should do anything including shoving whatever makes us feel better into our mouths (doughnuts, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs) to make it stop.
Continue reading → *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA