“Marie Kondo” your behaviors, not just your closet
Her first step is to bring out into the open everything you own in a particular category. We often don’t know what all we have hidden away until we’ve taken it from hiding places. When faced with our large quantities, we can fully grasp the extent of what we have, what we’ve been hanging onto and put it into perspective.
Next, she suggests we hold an item in our hands to feel its weight. We let ourselves not just think about it, but have a physical experience of its presence in our life. And then we ask a crucial question: does it spark joy? Or perhaps, is it a conduit for joy? If it does “spark joy”, then it can find a proper home. But if not? Then we take a moment to thank the item for its service in our life, and we pass it along to be given away or discarded completely.
This process, which often leads to much purging through the home, can be helpful in our mental and emotional lives as well. Our EMDR-based philosophy recognizes that particular behaviors have been adapted because they served a purpose: to keep an individual alive and functioning during or after a point of trauma. It’s an old solution that no longer works.
We can actually be grateful to our survival mechanisms because they served a purpose, for a period of time. But just like that tattered college-years hoodie, it doesn’t serve the same purpose anymore. With the help of your treatment provider, you can acknowledge these behaviors, thank them for their service, and then be done with them. With the new spaciousness, you’ll find freedom to adapt lifestyles more congruent with your present instead of your past.
But what about sentimentality? How can we get rid of the mementos and reminders of our history? Holly Schweitzer-Dunn, LISW, reminds us that we can respect and honor our past without keeping it right in front of us. Letting go doesn’t diminish its history, but hanging on may diminish the future.
Reading Real Love: The art of mindful connection by Sharon Salzburg; The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr; Mothers, Daughters and Body Image by Hilary McBride; Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Watching One Strange Rock on Netflix
Visiting Sunny Florida! Nicole, Michele and the Schweitzer-Dunn family made recent trips.
Eating Holly recently dug out the greens for a fresh pesto!
Moving NeuroMovement- Learn more from Jill Bolte Taylor and Anat Baniel
Hancock County Park District is sponsoring a free Take a Walk in the Park day on March 30. And Aqua Zumba meets Holly’s need for a little bit of silliness and fun in a workout.
Registering The 3rd Annual Jenelle Hohman Color Me Happy 5k Run/Walk to support Hancock County NAMI is coming up May 18
Leading Andrea led a workshop on the Enneagram at the Findlay MOPS group and our office will be conducting a breakout session at the University of Findlay’s upcoming conference on Trauma and Addiction.
Creating Planning an herb and vegetable garden to be planted soon!
Resting A trip to Miami for family R&R
Keeping Peace This Holiday Season
1. Validate your feelings. Experience the range of feelings, and remind yourself you need not react. Instead of telling yourself, “I shouldn’t be feeling this way because…” remind yourself that, as a human, feelings are a normal part of a healthy life. Allow yourself to feel and find a response that will be more helpful to move you toward how you want to feel.
2. Cope ahead. Rather than resorting to reactions in the midst of the hustle and bustle, consider taking action before the frenzy begins. Remind yourself of the challenges of previous holidays and plan a potential response. For example, if holiday parties tend to tempt you into engaging in more festive eating and drinking than you are comfortable with, make sure you pack your can of Sprite or give yourself some parameters to follow at the buffet line (“at least two vegetables before a dessert!”). Then when you arrive you can choose to follow what you already know to be best, rather than making decisions with social pressure or emotion involved.
3. Feel it. If you notice your body or mind shifting toward frustration, anger, or grief, name the feeling. Remind yourself that you are allowed to feel. Find a safe place to share the feelings – a close friend or a loved one who will hold space for you. After this, you may feel more freedom to move on to the next feeling.
4. Simplify. Choose wisely how you will spend your precious time and eliminate the parts that are beyond your capacity. No one else gets to dictate how you celebrate a holiday. Consider ordering the holiday dinner, traveling during the holidays or donating to a charity rather than spending money on gifts.
Though the holiday season comes with challenges, give yourself the space to experience the wide range of feelings – joy, grief, love, temptation – as a whole person.
Treating Addictionwith the Freedom to Feel
by Jayne Williams, LICDC, LICC
Emotional pain is gasoline to the fire of addiction. Before a chemical or physiological addiction transpires, a person craves the escape from his or her feelings. In the work of recovery, we must address not only the behaviors, but the web of experience behind the behavior. The work of knowing our feelings – mindfulness – takes a regular practice of awareness. Many times we experience emotion below the surface and attempt to escape before we’ve had a chance to name them.
In discussing addiction, we most often refer to chemical dependency, an emotional and physical tolerance to chemicals. We can’t ignore the plethora of process addictions that do not involve ingesting a substance, but which alter a person’s mood and have negative consequences for their lives, such as gambling, sexual addictions, shopping, pornography, and eating/exercise compulsions.
We can always find a distraction, be it substances, social media, shopping, or work. To heal, we need to be able to know what we are feeling at any given time and share it with someone. This tendency to not know our emotions or connect with others for support leaves us vulnerable to numbing behaviors.
If I go shopping by myself when I am feeling a bit down, am I addicted? If this is the only way to manage feelings, then it could be a problem. It is repeated use of any behaviors without other means of coping and support that is the concern.
The good news: every day, every moment, you have a choice. You can choose to numb and avoid or you can choose the courage to share it with someone. It can be scary to share emotions with another person, be it a friend, partner or even counselor. You might feel vulnerable when you put down your armor, but the feeling of being loved and supported doesn’t wear off like the emotional numbing of addictions does. When your feelings rise to the top, acknowledge them, share them with a safe and healthy outlet and recognize that you can choose your response.