It's easy to be aware of when you don’t feel your best, especially physically. For me, I get migraines as much as nine times a month. If I sense it coming on early enough, I can medicate and mostly feel okay but not great. Fortunately I don’t get glutened very often. That makes me really sick so I guess a gift of the pandemic is that I don’t eat out very much.
When we feel bad emotionally, we might not know it right in the moment. Or, we may know we feel bad and think it's because we do not have control of the circumstances in our lives. Or maybe that our actions are out of control. Overeating. Drinking too much.
Sometimes we may not even notice when we're feeling okay. Is it possible to appreciate how often we do feel good? (The answer is yes, but it may take some practice.) And when we are off our game, then what?
Enter self-compassion, the art of cutting ourselves a break. The irony about self-compassion is that we do more, not less. We do better, not worse. It makes us nicer to other people too. And that, in turn helps us feel better.
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Sometimes, I’ll just be home, or driving, and get gripped out of the blue with an anxiety that makes me breathe shallow and look for some way to soothe. Sometimes my chest hurts. Sometimes I feel like I might cry. Sometimes I feel like I need to run and run.
I used to just react with anything I thought would make me feel better. Maybe eating. Maybe using other distraction techniques, like working too much, or surfing the web or watching TV. Maybe I'd just be unpleasant to the people around me. I knew that breathing and mindfulness would be a better long term approach. But in the middle if it, I couldn't access that skill set.
What has helped most is developing reliable strategies to manage the feelings and not resist, react or deny that the feeling exists.
You can have that too. Sign up for a free session and get on the path to managing your emotions, rather than them managing you.
[This story is second hand. Jenn, if you read this and want to make corrections to the actual facts, I'm good with that.]
Several years before Jenn and I had even met, she stopped by Morris Animal Refuge and adopted an adorable polydactyl fuzzy gray kitten, whom she named Pulitzer, in honor of the award her workplace, the Philadelphia Inquirer, had recieved earlier that day. My guess is it was 1989 for the Bartlett and Steele series that prompted tax reform? Ah, thouse were the day, Inky!
Kittens are adorable. And this one was especially so because of his giant ears and even gianter-six-toed feet. But by that night, something was wrong and Pulitzer was decidedly not well.
Jenn was an urban 20-something living in South Philadelphia and she didn't have a car. She found a vet who did HOUSE CALLS. Dr. Diane Eigner, the founder of the Cat Doctor (still in practice today, but without Dr. Diane and I suspect without house calls), came to Jenn's apartment. As is the case with rescue kitties, there could have been a variety of reasons for the diarrhea and vomiting. Dr. Diane had a hunch that there was not enough time to sort out exactly what was going on, so she treated him with everything she had – antibiotics, antiparasiticals (Is that a thing?), fluids for dehydration and probably other stuff, but since I'm neither a vet nor was I there, just know that this is what Dr. Eigner told Jenn:
We are going to throw everything at it and hope one of the treatments is the right one. Otherwise, this kitten won't make it 'til morning. Keep him warm and hydrated as best you can.
Thankfully, he recovered. This would have been a terrible story otherwise! He grew up, helped Jenn through her relationship transitions, and became a really enormous, kinda moody omnipresent alphacat in our future merged household of pets. He lived a good life, and my memory is that he passed from cancer in the late '90s.
Sometimes when we humans are not sure what's going on with us, a coach can be part of our Dr. Diane move. Get coaching. Eat better. Move more. Breathe deeper. Meditate. Take vitamins. Play and listen to music. Get out in nature. Write. Do a project. Hydrate. Stay warm.
Ready to see how coching can help you when you're not sure what you need?