Holistic Divorce Counseling

Holistic Divorce Counseling Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM, LMHC. Free support, resources, and comfort for all life's issues and transitions.

How To Make Someone’s Day Much Better In Less Than A Minute. (And, that someone could be you.) December 26, 2018

Filed under: Make someone's day better — chocophile @ 4:42 pm
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This is the easiest self-help thing you can do, even though, at first, it looks as if you’re doing it for someone else.

All you have to do is say something nice.

There’s only one catch:

You have to mean it.

 

Surely, in almost all your daily wanderings you can find something nice to say to almost everyone you meet.

Don’t lie and don’t lard it on. Just find something you can honestly compliment.

 

At their house? Even if you hate the decor, say how lovely the light looks as it comes through the window.

 

Seeing them at the grocery store? Comment on their cheerful demeanor, their smile, their attitude, their clothes, their children. You don’t have to rack your brain that hard to find something positive.

 

Barbara Fredrickson, in her book: Love 2.0, makes quite a compelling case for the beneficial effects of micro connections. It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest these are even more powerful when they involve a heartfelt compliment.

 

There are many studies that show how much better people feel after they are generous. You don’t have to write a check, volunteer in a soup kitchen, or knit scarves for the homeless (though those would also be appreciated). Just say a few words:

You look so vibrant today.

You always have such good energy.

I love that color on you.

You have such a way with children.

You’re such a kind soul.

You really make a difference.

The world is so much better with you in it.

I really appreciate your unique view on things.

 

You get the idea.

 

Don’t wait until the urge strikes, cultivate the habit. I promise you will be the ultimate beneficiary.

 

So, go ahead, make someone’s day better. It’s free, easy (once you let yourself relax and let go) and it will increase your joy.

 

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

Masquerading Emotions: What your feelings are really telling you. December 20, 2018

Filed under: Masquerading Emotions... — chocophile @ 4:08 pm
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What are your emotions really telling you?

 

Clearly when you feel happy, elated or joyful your emotions are saying: “More please!” It doesn’t take a psychological sleuth to know what to do when you feel good; however, it does take a bit of digging to figure out what’s underneath the darker and more complex emotions.

 

When depression, anger, anxiety or grief show up they are messengers asking you to explore what you really want.

 

Grief, is a shape shifter. It can masquerade as anger, depression, anxiety, and guilt. (There is a piece on this site under the Depression heading called “Is your depression really grief” that points to how frequently people are misdiagnosed, or misdiagnose themselves, with depression when they’re really feeling grief stricken.)

 

While the following is a fairly oversimplified explanation, I think it can be a useful tool in exploring three major unpleasant emotions.

 

Often, anxiety covers depression, depression covers anger, and anger covers hurt. All four of those feelings are difficult emotions. They feel lousy, they usually involve unpleasant bodily sensations, and it’s normal to want to ditch them as fast as possible. Yet, if you push them out of your conscious awareness either with distractions, addictions, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, or other drugs, you will simply feel them more strongly in the future, or they will manifest in bodily conditions like backaches, migraines, tension headaches, IBS, palpitations, insomnia, etc.

 

As daunting as it may appear at first, it’s actually very liberating to plumb the depths of your initial feelings to see if there is something else underneath them. Since anger, anxiety, depression and guilt can be so disturbing, it’s a good idea to ameliorate their effect on you first.

 

Radical self-care practices, like yoga, qigong, walking, spending time in nature, music, self-compassion meditation, massage, acupuncture, healthy food, chocolate, inspirational videos and talks, and hugs can all soothe and mollify the harsh edges of these intense feelings.

 

After calming your body, mind and spirit as much as possible, you may want to do some deeper work to free yourself from the grip of the underlying emotion that is often at the root of your initial feeling.

 

While working with a therapist is one option, there is much you can accomplish on your own. EFT (emotional freedom technique), for example, provides a gentle, yet effective way to work with challenging feelings. You can find many helpful videos on YouTube. (Check out my piece on tapping for more information and specific suggestions.)

 

Another great path is through journaling. Whether written or audio, journaling can be be revealing, cathartic and calming, especially if you ask yourself some of the following questions:

Is my depression really grief?

Have I had a major change in life or a big loss recently?

Could my anger be hiding sadness and hurt feelings?

Is my anxiety covering a deeper sadness or depression?

Is there any chance anger underlies my depression?

Have my guilt feelings unconsciously created a lot of resentment?

These are very probing questions and it’s helpful to come back to them regularly.

 

Why do people unconsciously cover up deeper, often darker and scarier, emotions with other unpleasant feelings? It’s an unconscious choice to feel the lesser of two evils. For example, it’s easier to admit feeling angry than to get in touch with being hurt, sad, or grief stricken. Why? Because anger is empowering and feeds the ego. Just think of the Sea Witch at the end of the movie THE LITTLE MERMAID. As her anger grew she became enormous, finally imploding. Anger can be both seductive and destructive.

 

If depression feels so lousy and anger can be empowering, why unconsciously choose depression over anger? Because there is a gender divide in the world of feelings. You don’t consciously choose one over the other, you’ve been trained to do it. Men are allowed to express some measure of anger. Women are generally perceived as less threatening when they express depression, so they learn to stifle their anger, which then gets expressed as depression. They don’t prefer depression over anger, they’ve just been socialized to cope that way.

 

Whatever the origin of these tendencies, the good news is you can unearth your deeper feelings, work through them with patience, wisdom, and self compassion, and get to the other side.

 

 

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

 

 
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