Daring Greatly

I am currently re-reading the wonderful book Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. If I only had a single therapeutic tool or paradigm, Dr. Brown’s work may be the one. Dr. Brown examines yucky problems like scarcity, shame, and defense mechanisms with finesse and humor. For those of you who have not seen her first viral video, here it is: vulnerability .

Trauma and Restoration

When you experience a negative memory, do you experience an inability to move or take action? These “stuck” or “frozen” states are indicative of trauma. The trauma may be related to a single overwhelming event and/or it may be from a developmental disturbance, like childhood abuse or neglect. Trauma is about powerlessness, not being able to DO something helpful within the original situation. A traumatized person’s challenge is to re-train their mind AND body to take calm action when they are triggered into these states. Sometimes, traumatized people over-react to situations, understandably not wanting to be revictimized. Some interventions that help relieve (rather than re-live) trauma are: meditation (noticing disturbing mind/body cues while regulating breathing and heart rate); identifying and using self-soothing stimuli (perhaps a comforting smell, texture, visualization); and articulating the trauma experience within a safe and responsive context.

I recently completed a continuing education training with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score.

Lessons from Improv

I am currently taking an introduction to Improvisation Comedy class. Improv is a fun way to practice…

  • awareness: it’s hard to keep people’s attention if your own attention is wandering
  • listening: respond to a group story rather than one’s own preoccupations
  • acceptance: in improv, you working as a team–and other people have some weird ideas
  • healthy risk-taking (AKA healthy vulnerability): it gets the dopamine going; it builds competence and resilience

Externalizing Anxiety

An anxious computer programmer reprogrammed his anxiety. First, he outlined his worries into a computer program. Then, the program emailed him anxious messages throughout each day. The programmer read the messages–as if they were comical spam messages. This process helped him emotionally distance from worry and deconstruct anxiety in real time.

The original audio story can be found here: here

Sensation-Seeking

I recently completed a training with Dr. Ken Carter about Sensation-Seeking behavior. We explored healthy and/or problematic sensation-seeking constructs like adventure & thrill seeking; novelty & unique experiences; disinhibition; and boredom susceptibility.  Some emerging research indicates that healthy sensation-seekers reduce anxiety through their sensation-seeking and are less likely to experience PTSD in their lifetimes. However, unhealthy sensation-seekers may be more prone to addictions.

Play Time

I attended an InterPlay workshop recently, based on the principals of Interpersonal Neurobiology. We experienced firsthand how “mindfulness” can be fun. And “playfulness” is not an escape from reality. In this workshop, we played (connected, laughed, moved) and built (inter)personal awareness. Intentional play is an antidote for depression and anxiety.

Low-Cost Mental Health Resources

Here’s a list of 81 Mental Health Resources, including apps and community support groups.

Each program has it’s potential benefits. Taken as a whole, this list points out that MANY people are working individually and collectively to make this world a more accessible, responsible, and peaceful place. If you try one of these programs, I’d like to hear about your experience.