Authority Magazine: Beating Burnout: Janet Philbin On The 5 Things You Should Do If You Are Experiencing Work Burnout

Millions of Americans are returning back to work after being home during the pandemic. While this has been exciting for many, some are feeling burned out by their work. What do you do if you are feeling burned out by your work? How do you reverse it? How can you “get your mojo back”? What can employers do to help their staff reverse burnout?

In this interview series called “Beating Burnout: 5 Things You Should Do If You Are Experiencing Work Burnout,” we are talking to successful business leaders, HR leaders and mental health leaders who can share insights from their experience about how we can “Beat Burnout.”.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Janet Philbin.

Janet is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Hypnotherapist and Certified Conscious Parenting Coach. Janet helps adults heal from the emotional pain and trauma of their past. She is the owner of Janet Philbin, ACSW a private psychotherapy and hypnotherapy practice.

She’s the author of the Amazon best-selling book, Show Up For Yourself: A Guide to Inner Awareness and Growth.

https://youtu.be/U3czA9bL0LQ

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised on Long Island. I am the oldest of three girls. I remember the first five years of my life in Brooklyn. There was a freedom at that time, running up and down on the sidewalks, walking to a friend’s house, and just sitting on the stoops. When we moved to Long Island, we lived in a court which afforded us the same freedoms. We played outside every day and when it was time to come in for dinner, mom would open the front door and call our names out to the neighborhood that it was time to come home, and we came running. It just was the way it was back then.

My sisters and I had a very close relationship with our grandparents. When they came to visit, we would devote our entire day or weekend to spending it with them. The relationship with my grandparents was one of the strongest building blocks for the person I am today. What I learned through them as I grew up informed my values and belief systems. Two of my grandparents were holocaust survivors who lost almost everyone in the concentration camps they taught my sisters and I the value of nurturing relationships, unconditional love, and the importance of family. When we would visit them in Brooklyn, they devoted all their time to us. We also made frequent visits to my great aunt and uncles house, and though, as I child it would be “boring” it allowed us to develop close relationships with them and with my cousin whom I still maintain that closeness with today.

My parents divorced when I was five years old. My mother became a single mom. Living on Long Island with no job, not knowing how to drive she had to find a way to make life work for all four of us. What I learned about perseverance and survival I believe took root at that time of my life. My mother went back to school to learn a skill and took driving lessons. She did not let her life circumstances at that time dictate her life, instead she made decisions to direct her life. One of the things she always told my sisters and me was to have something for you, find a career or trade so you can always support yourself. She never cared what we would grow up to do, just that we could be independent and self-reliant. We did just that, as my sisters and I each earned professional degrees.

EHRC WEB: 9 Ways To Help You Process Your Emotions

While we all know the benefits of being honest about our feelings and allowing them space, contrarily, we are hardwired to hide, deny and control our emotions instead. Processing your emotions can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. With the advice from experts, you can learn to better process your emotions in 9 different ways.

Be Aware Of It, Pause, And Identify With Objectivity

The first step is to become aware that you’re experiencing a difficult emotion by noticing the physical aspects of it. This might sound straightforward, but many of us cope with difficult emotions by disconnecting ourselves from them through numbing, self-medicating, or ignoring them. 

After you have that awareness, pause and identify the emotion. And, instead of turning away, turn towards it without judgment. Allow yourself to experience it with a sense of objectivity.

Instead of saying, “I feel angry,” for example, say, “I feel anger in my body.” This is a small shift, but it moves you from being in the mode of the one experiencing the emotion to the one observing it.

Patricia Thompson (Ph.D.), a corporate psychologist and creator of the 21 Day Crash Course in Emotional Intelligence online courseSilver Lining Psychology

Address the Physical Manifestations of it, Then Process Them Through Breathing Exercises and Creativity

Having spent a lot of time on personal and emotional development, I would love to share the best ways I have found to feel and process my emotions. I have struggled a lot in the past with repressing my emotions, and the most effective way I have found to release them is to address the physical manifestations and tensions that they cause. 

For example, I hold a huge amount of tension in my jaw to the extent that I have developed TMJ problems, but through treating and reducing the tension in my jaw, I have managed to get in touch with and actually experience my emotions rather than losing them into physical tension.

Then, to process these feelings, I use a combination of deep breathing techniques to regulate how I’m feeling and creativity through art and music-making to understand and express these emotions.  While this process doesn’t necessarily make the experience of difficult emotions easier, it does mean I am experiencing a full spectrum of emotions and processing them in a much more healthy way.

Lily Hope, Artist Manager Polyphony Arts

I think the most important thing to understand when speaking about feelings and emotions is that they are two different things. When we can understand the difference, then we can find healthy ways to process the emotions and feelings we all experience daily.

Feelings are something you experience in your physical body. Feelings are sensations that arise within you in response to what is happening outside of you. Feeling your feelings is an awareness of something that is affecting you, either internally or externally. Some examples are the feeling of butterflies in your stomach, tears building up in your eyes, the tension in your head, or tightness in your shoulders. Emotions are your reactions to feelings. 

You label the emotions as anger, joy, frustration, excitement, anticipation, fear, etc. You get into emotional trouble and become stuck, unable to process feelings because you develop stories about yourself and the world around you based on the emotional reactions, not the feelings which first began in the body.

Pause And Take A Breath-Do Not Label The Feeling. There Is Power In The Pause.

When you pause and take a breath, tune into your physical body and identify where in your body you are feeling your feelings. Acknowledge the experience of what is going on inside of you. You can say things to yourself like, “I have tightness in my chest right now or my throat hurts.” Once you acknowledge the feeling, start to breathe. Imagine breathing your breath into the part of your body which is experiencing the feeling.

Set A Timer For 60-90 Seconds

Research has shown that it only takes 60-90 seconds for uncomfortable/stressful feelings to pass through our bodies. Sit with your feet on the floor in a comfortable chair, place your hand on your heart and pay attention to the beat of your heart, and rise and fall of your chest as you breathe. Imagine breathing warm air into the part of your body that is feeling stress. When the timer goes off, you will feel relief and easily be able to move on with your day.

HGTV: The Best Therapy and Anti-Anxiety Notebooks, According to Mental Health Experts

Looking for a way to relieve some stress? The simple act of journaling can do wonders for your mental health, therapists say.

If you’re looking for ways to let go of stress and find more happiness in your life, look no further. Really, we mean that: Experts say that the best way to find more happiness in life is to examine what you already have, rather than looking and reaching for something else you think would make you happier.

Journaling can be profoundly stress-relieving, and many purpose-built journals and notebooks have popped up in recent years to help provide structured ways to track your mood, feelings, behaviors, gratitude and goals. We dug through what’s out there and asked a few therapists for their favorites, too.

The Anti-Anxiety Notebook

Cognitive behavioral therapists designed this journal to help you identify patterns in your thoughts and use structured exercises to get out of anxiety or stress spirals. Use the writing prompts and tools in this book to record how you’re feeling — and what triggered that response — to help you get back to a calmer space when you’re feeling anxious. Buy It

Show Up for Yourself Journal

$9.99 AMAZON

“Journaling is for you,” says Janet Philbin, a licensed clinical social worker, hypnotherapist and author of Show Up for Yourself. “Journaling allows you a safe space to express what is in your heart and what is on your mind. Having a way to process your feelings allows you the space to heal and grow.”

Janet says she recommends her clients write in notebooks with blank pages. “I want my clients to write freely without worrying about staying in the lines,” she says. “A blank page gives you the freedom of expression without the rules that a lined page implies.” She says not to worry too much about how neat you write, or how you write — just as long as you do it. And if it stresses you out to have your raw thoughts lying around, she encourages recycling or responsibly burning your journals when you feel ready.

“You can shred it, rip it up or burn it safely in a fireplace or coffee can,” she says. “When you get rid of the pages, thank yourself for showing up for yourself to write and release.” Buy

Unscrew You: #24 Showing Up For Yourself

Janet is one of the most insightful, powerful people you will ever meet. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Hypnotherapist and Certified Conscious Parenting Coach. She helps adults heal from the emotional pain and trauma of their past and on today’s episode we talk about healing ourselves.

She’s the author of, Show Up For Yourself: A Guide to Inner Awareness and Growth. Her book offers readers a framework to heal their emotional wounds and become emotionally whole once again. Show Up For Yourself hit Amazon’s best seller status and won as a finalist in the 2020 Readers Favorite book contest. She works closely with Dr. Shefali Tsabary, NY Times best selling author and Oprah’s favorite parenting expert, as an ambassador in her Conscious Parenting Coaching Method Institute.

Links:

https://www.instagram.com/janet_philbin_lcsw/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/janet-philbin-04101a29/

Free mini-book: Show up as a conscious parent- https://www.janetphilbin.com/showup-consciousparent/

Source: https://unscrewyou.libsyn.com/23-showing-up-for-yourself

Empower The World Talks: What may be holding you back from Emotional Freedom? – Janet Philbin

Talk Summary:

  • Emotional growth is a process of breaking free.
  • There are fours old patterns that keep you emotionally stuck:
  • Fears- of your feelings, pain, loss of self as you know it, change and healing
  • self-judgement- your harsh inner critic
  • Unworthiness- shame, blame, guilt
  • Attachment to anger- Anger is a cover up emotion

Enjoy!!!

🔥🔥🔥

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Empower The World Talks – a platform for us to come together and help empower and uplift with powerful questions, empathy and compassion.

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How to FLY through the Tech, Create Logos, Video, Social Content, Home Studio and more WITHOUT needing any TECH skill!:

https://www.the10xtoolkit.com/

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Source: https://www.achieveanydream.com/post/what-may-be-holding-you-back-from-emotional-freedom-janet-philbin-empower-the-world-talks

STEPS: Surviving Social Work Burnout: Prevention Strategies & Advice

Discover what burnout means to social workers, learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms, and get resources and expert advice for preventing burnout in yourself and others.

Social workers offer strong, compassionate help for individuals and families experiencing a variety of life’s challenges. From working in the foster care system to helping patients and families through hospice care, social workers engage with people experiencing upheaval and change in their lives. In caring for so many people in so many ways, however, social workers may find themselves experiencing the symptoms of burnout. This is true both for professionals with years of experience and for students in social work programs who are just beginning their careers.

Fortunately, there are real, concrete solutions for preventing social work burnout. It may not always be simple, but with genuine self-care and a helping hand, burnout can be prevented and treated. Learn how you can identify social worker burnout, find the tools and techniques needed to overcome it, and gain expert advice from experienced social workers.

Discussing Burnout with a Licensed Social Worker

Janet Philbin
clinical social worker

Janet Philbin is a licensed clinical social worker, certified hypnotherapist, and certified conscious parenting coach. Janet helps adults heal from the emotional pain and trauma of their past. She is the owner of Janet Philbin, ACSW, a private psychotherapy and hypnotherapy practice. For 21 years Janet has been successfully helping people recover from their emotional wounds and change their lives with the power of transformational healing and hypnotherapy.

Q. How do you think the pandemic has affected burnout for social workers?

A. Some of the signs of burnout can include being more critical or cynical in your work with clients or colleagues. You may also experience difficulty focusing or concentrating on work-related tasks, decreased sleep, poor energy, increased fatigue, or being easily irritated. These are all signs that you might be experiencing burnout.

Q. What advice would you give to social work students and those just starting in the field for handling secondary traumatic stress?

A. I think the pandemic has been a call to action for social workers. Social workers are helpers. Social workers usually go into the field because of a deep calling to be of service. We want to help those who are struggling, who are in pain, need support, counseling and concrete services. Social workers are frontline workers providing emotional support to medical staff, families, and clients. Social workers are supporting others during the pandemic to cope with the same struggles and traumas they, themselves, are coping with. It would be impossible for social workers not to experience burnout during this pandemic.

Even social workers in private practice have been impacted. We are now working remotely. Since social workers are working remotely, we do not have the day-to-day, in-person support of colleagues to just quickly get support for a difficult case or have a casual conversation. Social workers are isolated, and that isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, increased fears, health issues, and a decrease in self-care. Social workers have an increase in clients dealing with loss due to the pandemic. We are counseling the essential workers. Social workers are witnessing, firsthand, the emotional trauma and devastation their clients are experiencing. It is our job to support them and at the same time care for ourselves as providers.

Q. You said you’ve experienced burnout. How did you get through it?

A. When I was a nursing home social worker, early in my career, I definitely went through a period of burnout. I got to a point where I became very exhausted in my job. I no longer liked working where my clients lived and found I was having a hard time making meaning out of the work I was doing. I was tired of tracking down lost remote controls and dealing with family members about their mother’s missing underwear. You would think that is not even part of a social worker’s job, but it is, and it is because as social workers we are responsible for the biopsychosocial health of our clients. That means we watch out for and consider all that is going on in their lives that affects them.

It hit me one day how frustrated and unfulfilled I was with having to do parts of my job that I previously enjoyed. Instead of enjoying connecting with my residents and families to solve these “small” issues, which represented larger ones like loss, I was not happy.

What I did in this instance was to make a big change. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to change my caseload and take on the role of hospice social worker. Though it did not eliminate having to deal with these issues, the new role offered me a new meaningful way to help a new population of residents and families which I loved. It was a renewal.

I was also in counseling with my own therapist at the time and used my sessions to talk about my work stress and experience of burnout. I also made sure when I left the building, I would take big exhales as I walked to my car, making a conscious choice to leave work at work as I headed home for the day.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add about burnout, specifically in social work?

A. Now that I am in private practice, I have had times where I feel as if “I have too many people’s problems in my head.” We hold the truths of our clients’ pain. The work of a social worker is sacred, but it is also hard, demanding, and overwhelming at times. While it may seem noble to be self-sacrificing, it is actually counterproductive. To sacrifice means to make sacred. As social workers, it is our responsibility to make ourselves sacred. We need to do this through self-care. Self-care also means creating and holding boundaries between your work life and your home life. When we take care of ourselves first, we have more resources at our disposal to give to another.

Silk Sonder — 80 Journaling Prompts for When You Don’t Know What to Write About

Close-up shot of student hand holding pen and writing in notebook, working at home. E-learning

If you’re feeling stuck—whether it’s in your personal or professional life—journaling can help close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

“Journaling helps us to clarify thoughts and feelings, reduce stress, solve problems and helps to resolve disagreements with others, says Janet Philbin, LCSW. “In my 21-year practice as a clinician, I have found journaling to help my clients improve coping skills, maintain emotional regulation, decrease worrisome and obsessive thoughts, improve sleep and journaling allows for integration of traumatic experiences.”

When you sit down to start journaling, the words might not always flow onto the page, and that’s completely normal! If you’re unsure what to write, Philbin recommends the following prompts:

Journal a list of five things you did today that brought you joy and write down why.

Journal a list of five things that upset you today and write down why.

Sit still for a moment and journal how your body is feeling at this moment in time, use as much description as possible.

What are you afraid to speak out loud but wish people knew about you?

What was one thing you felt proud of yourself for today?

If you were to say one thing to yourself that is loving what would that be and why do you need to hear that?

What is something you have always believed about yourself and why?

What is something you always felt you wanted to accomplish and what has held you back?

Imagine your perfect day and write down all of the details.

What TV or movie characters do you most identify with? Write as many details as possible.

Mary Potter Kenyon, certified grief counselor and Therapeutic Art coach, program coordinator at a spirituality center and author of Expressive Writing for Healing: Journal Your Way from Grief to Hope, suggests these journaling prompts to raise your self-awareness and heal emotionally. 

Make a list of all the lies you tell yourself. Now go down the list, cross out the lie and write the truth.

Everyone has a story to tell. What’s yours?

Author Lewis Carroll marked never-to-be-forgotten days in his journal as “white-stone” days. What are some white-stone memories in your days?

Without thinking about it too much, make a list of ten milestone moments in your life from birth to now, moments, good or bad, that stood out. Now, take one of those moments and write more about it.

You don’t have to be a writer to express yourself through writing. When the writing is for ourselves, and not for publication, there are no rules. Try writing a free verse poem. It doesn’t have to rhyme, nor does it have to follow a certain format.

What have you learned about yourself in facing difficult situations? Maybe you are stronger, or weaker, than you ever imagined. Make a list of your strengths.

You are going to feel emotional pain during difficult experiences. That is a given. The question is; what are you going to do with that pain? Will you use it to propel you do make changes in your life, to become a better person, or to reach out to others? Write down some ways you can mine your pain.

Research has proven that practicing gratitude has health benefits. Make a list of three things you are thankful for. Some days, it might be as simple as a smile from a stranger.

If time or money were no object, make a bucket list of sorts, a list of all the things you’d like to do or experience in your life. Now, choose one, and make plans to do it,

Look back to your childhood. What were you naturally drawn to? Where did your natural interests and talents lie? Make a list of activities you loved as a child. Now, choose one and make plans to incorporate that same activity into your adult life.

Fill in the blank with these simple yet powerful prompts from Alexander Burgemeester, Neuropsychiatrist and Founder of “The Narcissistic Life:”

I couldn’t imagine living without…

I really wish others knew this about me…

One thing I wish I felt comfortable doing is…

What I loved most about today is…

The biggest surprise of my life in the past year has been…

The biggest lesson from my biggest mistake, so far, is…

What inspires me most is…

The State of Women — Amplifying Her Voice Featured Speaker: Janet Philbin

Amplifying Her Voice

The next speaker from the Amplifying Her Voice “In Moms We Trust” Summit we’d like you to meet is Janet Philbin, who spoke on our “Coping With Trauma and Stress” panel.

Philbin; a licensed clinical social worker, hypnotherapist, and conscious parenting coach; helps adults heal from the emotional pain and trauma of their pasts. She has spent the past 21 years helping people emotional wounds and change their lives, and is the author of Show Up For Yourself: A Guide to Inner Awareness and Growth, an Amazon bestseller offering a framework for emotional healing.

In our Q&A, Philbin discusses how showing up for ourselves can help us be there for others, the new and increased challenges faced by women and mothers, the importance of compassion and following your own path, the example we set for our children when we show up for ourselves, and more.


What inspired you to join Amplifying Her Voice for Mother’s Day?

I think it is important for mothers and women to understand themselves. I want to offer support and resources to help moms feel connected to themselves.

What most drives and motivates you each day?

What drives day motivates me each day is always stretching to know myself better and to continue on my healing journey. When I am working on myself I have the internal resources to be there for others.

Who is your role model, and why?

My role model is my grandfather. He was a Holocaust survivor. He taught me the value of family, the value of consistency, the value of following through, and honoring your word.

What cause, company, group, or movement are you a part of that you would like to share with us?

I am passionate about sharing and teaching conscious parenting. We can help children of today by helping their parents heal.

What do you think are some of the most pressing issues facing moms, families, and caregivers today?

I think moms are juggling so much. Now with the challenges of COVID, stress is higher. The pressures of online school, working, and trying to find balance each day are causing many people to reach their emotional limit in their ability to cope effectively. Moms need even more support as they continue to traverse this new territory.

How do you think issues like poverty, violence, racism, oppression, and inequality intersect with motherhood and with being a woman?

I think women have always been the ones fighting and advocating for their children. When a woman is also struggling with poverty, violence, racism, oppression and inequality then the challenges to survive and raise their children are magnified. Many women are living with more than one of these issues at a time. They are survivors. As a woman you are already faced with inequity so adding any other trauma creates even more of a barrier for women to be empowered to effect change in their lives.

IndigoBlue Magazine – Reparenting Yourself and Healing the Inner Child

By Kate Orson

It is never too late to heal and recover from the past. Doing so can help us to lead happier, healthier, and vibrant lives in the present. Reparenting is defined as the act of giving to yourself what you didn’t receive as a child. Our parents did the best they could with the knowledge and resources they had available at the time, but we all grow up with hurt and wounds from not having all of deepest needs met.

You may have heard the concept that each of us has an ‘inner child’ within our psyche. Janet Philbin is a licensed social worker, hypnotist, and conscious parenting coach. She describes the inner child as something real which exists within our subconscious. Our inner child is a reflection of those unmet needs from childhood.

Philbin says that if we are not aware of our inner child they can end up ‘running the show.’ We end up reacting in ways similar to how we did as a child. For example, using coping skills such as ‘tantrums, becoming a people pleaser, lying, withdrawing, enabling,’  This can be challenging but there are ways we can connect to our inner child and meet their needs, so that we can reparent ourselves.

How Finding Gratitude for Painful Life Experiences Helps You

Written by: Janet Philbin, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

It is easy to be in gratitude for the good things in life, but how about the bad, not so good, or unwanted.

Have you ever had an Ah-Ha moment? Mine was, “I am in gratitude for my trauma.” I was shocked and questioned how it was possible to be grateful for my painful life experiences. I wanted to understand what contributed to my transformation from pain to gratitude.

How do you find gratitude for unwanted life experiences? As I researched gratitude, everything I read was about how to be in gratitude for the good and positive things in life. What about gratitude for the not so good, or as Pema Chodron calls it, “the unwanted,” the bad, the struggles, and pain. Chodron says, “Use all the unwanted things in your life as a means for awakening compassion for yourself and others.” In other words, it’s important to be in gratitude for the unwanted in our lives, the not so good.

I also turned to Osho. In his book, “Buddha,” he talks about the Buddhist principle of Thahata, which means suchness. The attitude of suchness is described as: accept it. It is about accepting what is, as it is when it is. When you don’t fight what is in front of you, there is a shift because when the attitude of suchness is within us, healing can follow.

It would be wonderful if we only had good experiences, but the chances are that is not the case because life is generally full of ups and downs. Can you reflect on the downs, the ones you wish had never happened, the ones when you raised your hands and asked, “Why Me? Haven’t I been through enough already?” Can you find gratitude for those times?

Have you asked yourself these or similar questions?

  • Does this serve a purpose?
  • Haven’t I already learned this lesson?
  • Didn’t I already have enough trauma/drama in my life?
  • Didn’t I do my time (so to speak)?
  • Why do I have to take on more now?

Sadly, you cannot undo the past. I wonder what happens when you apply the concept of suchness to these questions?

Why anticipatory anxiety is like waiting for the other shoe to drop

How many times have you heard the phrase, waiting for the other shoe to drop?

I know I have said it many times.

That phrase has its origins in the tenements of New York City. The story goes that at the turn of the century, apartments were built with bedrooms on top of one another. It was common to hear your upstairs neighbor take off a shoe, drop it, and then repeat the action. In other words, waiting for the sound of the other shoe to hit the floor. It became known as an anticipation for something you knew was coming.

This has now become synonymous with anxiety, specifically anticipatory anxiety. According to psychology today, about 85 percent of things that people worry about never happen. Think about that 85 percent of us are lost in thought, which creates an emotional experience of worry, anxiety or fear about something that will never happen. That uses a lot of emotional and physical energy. It can leave you feeling exhausted, sad, confused, unable to take action steps to move forward in your life and feeling disconnected from the things that can bring you joy. It may even create the need to turn away from feelings because they are so painful, which can lead to all types of addiction and distractions. 

What I have come to understand through working with my clients, is that this type of anticipatory fear is actually held in our cellular memory. That means that the painful memory from a past event is so strong that the energy and the physical feeling you experienced from that event, actually gets lodged in your body.  When a memory is lodged in the body the result may be that every time you feel, experience, go through, or anticipate an event that is similar to the original painful memory your body reacts with the same response. The fear you hold onto rises to the top and you get stuck in the cycle of fear and anxiety.

You respond from a place of fear, a fear that was trapped in your body.

As a clinician and as a hypnotherapist I understand this with a unique perspective. First, through the lens of Polyvagal Theory and second through the lens of the subconscious mind. Polyvagal theory takes us through the experience of the autonomic nervous system and its three predictable pathways of response. These are: Ventral Vagal, Sympathetic and Dorsal Vagal.

Each pathway has unique adaptive responses to help us survive. We interpret these responses through neuroception. Neuroception is our ability to detect what is going on in our environment, this happens without conscious awareness, just like we are not consciously aware of how often we blink, it just happens. When we are detecting what is happening in our environment we are always assessing for cues of safety and cues of danger. Based on our interpretation of the cue, either safety or danger, we respond from one of the three pathways of the autonomic nervous system. When we are in Ventral Vagal, we are experiencing safety and connection. When we are in Sympathetic, we are in a mobilized fight-flight state. When we are in Dorsal Vagal, we are in a state of immobilization, conserving our energy and resources.

Keeping Polyvagal theory in mind lets move onto understanding why we are waiting for the other shoe to drop from the perspective of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind has no sense of time, it does not know the difference between real and imagination, and it reacts from old “programming” until those old programmed messages are healed. When it comes to the emotional experience of anxiety, this is something that is experienced when our Sympathetic system is activated.

Anxiety is an emotion.

We interpret a physical sensation we feel in the body and label it anxiety or maybe fear. We are activated in some way. If the sensation feels like a tightness in the chest we immediately interpret that as a cue of danger. This happens because we learned a long time ago, maybe as a child, that every time my parents fight, I get scared, my chest gets tight and I am anticipating something really bad may happen next. Now, it does not matter if something really bad happened or not, the body now has a cellular memory of a tight chest and this is connected to strong emotions. The Sympathetic system is activated, and you are in fight or flight. You learned to experience anticipatory anxiety every time you get this feeling of a tightness in the chest. Since the subconscious mind has no sense of time you respond to the event in front of you with the same or very similar coping skills you developed when you were young. 

Now, as an adult, every time the Sympathetic system is active you experience this anticipatory anxiety. It is interpreted as a cue of danger. The shoe is about to drop. What if you were able to change this perception? What if you still felt that feeling in your chest but did not have to automatically jump into your imagination and go into all of the stories of a bad outcome. What if the feeling in your chest was just a message to you to pay attention to yourself for a moment or two? It is an invitation to tune into what you are internally experiencing, slow down, to carefully assess the situation. Imagine that the tight feeling did not mean something bad was going to happen but instead means you can have a positive outcome in this situation.

You can be in charge of how you respond.

It is possible what you are anticipating is a good thing and when you get that feeling in your chest it means to be excited about the next event and not scared. You have the power to change your response, you have the power to change your thoughts.

Here are a some steps to take on how to do this.

  1. When you feel that physical feeling in your body stop and pause.
  2. Take a breath in, let the exhale be longer than the inhale.
  3. Take a few of these breaths, being sure when you inhale you are taking deep abdominal breaths so you can feel your belly rise up each time you inhale.
  4. Notice how the physical feeling in the body begins to shift or become alleviated as you breathe this way.
  5. Become aware of your physical body. Feel your feet on the floor, your body in your chair, take note of the time, day, what clothes you are wearing. Reorient yourself to the present moment.
  6. Talk to yourself by asking questions like; what is the truth of the situation right now? What are the real possible outcomes? What is the best outcome? What is the worst?
  7. You are empowered to choose how you will approach the situation. Will you approach in from the perspective of the worst outcome or the best?
  8. You get to choose the way you respond. What emotional and physical energy do you want to bring to the situation?
  9. Take another breath and notice the shift within you.
  10. Now you can move forward and choose to interpret that feeling in your chest differently. Now it gets to mean to stop, pause, pay attention and choose you.

When you step into the empowered self by choosing you, you are letting yourself know you are safe. You are in charge of how you respond. You are here in this present moment, not five, ten or thirty years ago in the past. You no longer need to imagine bad outcomes with anticipatory anxiety of a shoe dropping. In fact, you get to move into a new space where you do not have to hear the shoe drop at all.

What does it mean to love yourself?

Loving oneself is a daily practice of self care.

Love is something that is ongoing. 

It is something to be celebrated daily for yourself.

Love who you are, make time for you.

Do not wait for another to tell you or show you they love you in order for you to feel it or be it. This will not fully work, the effect will be temporary. It will be temporary because you first need to love you. When love comes from the outside without having a home on the inside it cannot fully be felt, it “wears” off. However, when you – love you, then love from another can stick because you already believe, know and feel the love. Essentially, it has a place to call home within your very own heart. A place within you that feels safe with being loved!

As you begin to acknowledge that you need to love yourself, you are actually stepping out of our own shadow. This means you begin to see that the story you have been telling yourself about why you are not lovable, why you are not really worthy of love and making excuses for others for not loving you begins to fall away.  When you open your heart to yourself, then you open up your ability to love yourself. And when you open up to loving yourself, it is at that time that you are making room for another to love you.  

We can not take in from another which we already do not possess within.

We have difficulty taking this in because we can not recognize it. Sometimes, we can not even believe that another would feel this way towards us or about us. It is like learning to read a new language, you may see letters on the page but without understanding the words the letters are forming, you can not take it in or understand it. You have no internal context for interpreting the word in front of you.

It is the same for love. If you do not know love for yourself, you can not, or will have a pretty hard time, recognizing it coming to you from another. 

Today is the day to start loving yourself.

How do you do that?

Well, it starts with you. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Place your hand over your heart and say, “I love you,” silently in your mind.

2. Stand in front of a mirror, look into your own eyes and say, “I love you,” to yourself while placing your hand on your heart.

3. Write it down. Write, Dear(fill in your name), I love you. Write down 3 positive attributes. Write these attributes down 3 times on the same page and then read it aloud.

4. Do a is self care activity. Pick something that brings you joy. Some examples may be listening to music, reading a book, cooking a favorite meal, calling a friend, exercising or meditating. The options are limitless. You are only limited by your imagination. 

5. Stay present and remind yourself that at this moment in time you are ok just as you are.

6. Choose you! You get to choose to let go of all you have held onto that has hurt you.

7. Imagine sending love from your own heart to any part of you from the past or present that is in pain and open up to the love you have for yourself.

Love does not happen in a small container. Love is abundant. Love really is everywhere when you open yourself up to see it, take it in and own it as a part of you.

Pause here with me now. Place your hand on your heart with me, take a breath in and say, “I love you.” Hold it there, feel the warmth, and when you are ready, exhale.

If you want to learn more about this, my book, Show Up For Yourself, explores this and helps you find a way toward healing. 

If you have questions DM me in Instagram or send me a message through my website.

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CHAPTER 1: Conscious Relationship With Self

 

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