Pushing Buttons — Untended Pain

Daily Om by Madisyn Taylor

When someone continues to open our old wounds on purpose, they must be told that their behavior is no longer welcome.

We all had our buttons pushed to the point where we feel we can’t take it any more, and chances are, we’ve all pushed somebody else’s buttons, with or without knowing it. The button pusher may not be conscious of what they’re doing, but in the end the buttons belong to us, and we are the ones who must deal with what comes up. The more we take responsibility for our own feelings and reactions, the less tender these buttons will be.

self-care

The importance of self-care.

We all had the experience of having someone snap at us, seemingly out of nowhere. This happens when we unconsciously push a button in someone else we didn’t even know was there. This can happen with a complete stranger and sometimes with a person we’ve known and been close to for years. We ourselves may have a relationship with someone whose buttons we secretly like to push. Buttons are just soft spots that have been touched one too many times, and they symbolize some pain that needs to be acknowledged and healed. This may be a wound from childhood, or some recent trauma, that we haven’t adequately tended. Whatever the case, when our buttons get pushed, the person who most needs our attention and caring is us, and blaming the button pusher only distracts us from finding a true resolution to our suffering.

accept - respect

Image from cyh.com

At the same time, if someone continually opens our wounds so that they never have time to heal, we are well within our rights to set a boundary with that person. Compulsive button pushers, who seem to find pleasure or satisfaction in hurting us, are not welcome in our personal space. In the end, knowing where our buttons are enables us to do the work necessary to heal. Freedom comes when we deal with the pain behind the button, thus disconnecting our automatic reaction to being pushed.

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Contact me, if you are struggling with a relationship you feel “keeps pushing your buttons.” I offer a free 20-minute phone consultation to discuss any questions you may have and to find out how I may benefit you as your therapist.

Bloom Where You Are Planted

February 11, 2015

Now Is the Time 

by Madisyn Taylor

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The time to blossom is now, not sometime in the future when you believe the stars will be aligned for you.

 

Having a vision for our future that differs from our current circumstances can be inspiring and exciting, but it can also keep us from fully committing to our present placement. We may become aware that this is happening when we notice our thoughts about the future distracting us from our participation in the moment. We may find upon searching our hearts that we are waiting for some future time or situation in order to self-actualize. This would be like a flower planted in North Dakota putting off blooming because it would prefer to do so in Illinois.

We have a habit of presenting life with a set of conditions—ifs and whens that must be fulfilled before we will say yes to the gift of our lives. Now is the time for each of us to bloom where we are planted, overriding our tendency to hold back. Now is the time to say yes, to be brave and commit fully to ourselves, because until we do no one else will. Now is the time to be vulnerable, unfolding delicately yet fully into the space in which we find ourselves.

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There are no guarantees in this life, so when we hold back we do so at the risk of never fully blossoming. This present moment always offers us the ground in which we can take root and open our hearts now. What this means is that we live fully, wherever we are, not hesitating because conditions are not perfect, or we might end up moving, or we haven’t found our life partner.

This can be scary, because we might feel that we are giving up our cherished dreams if we do not agree to wait for them. But this notion that we have to hold back our life force now in order to find happiness later doesn’t really make sense. What might really be happening is that we are afraid to embrace this moment, and ourselves, just exactly as we are right now. This constitutes a tendency to hold back from fully loving ourselves, as we are, where we are.

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This article is printed from DailyOM – Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day.
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Contact me, if you are interested in working with a therapist who works with Expressive Arts Therapy and Positive Psychology. I offer a free 20-minute phone consultation to discuss any questions you may have and to find out how I may benefit you as your personal therapist. Call 323-920-9278.

How Well Do You Read Other People?

Body Language Quiz | Test Your Emotional Intelligence

with Greater Good the Science of a Meaningful Life

Facial expressions are a universal language of emotion, instantly conveying happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and much more. Reading these expressions is essential to compassion and empathy.

Take this short quiz to measure your emotional intelligence. Try to identify the emotion conveyed in each of the 20 photos. Each answer will pinpoint the exact muscles involved in that emotion and explain the subtle differences between expressions, drawing on pioneering research by psychologists Paul Ekman and Dacher Keltner. Some emotions appear more than once.

When you’re done, share your score and have friends take the quiz.

Click here for link to test

Source: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/ei_quiz/

Contact me if you are feeling the holiday blues and would like to talk to someone who can help you. I offer a free 20-minute phone consultation, if you have any questions about my style of therapy or to see how I may benefit you. 

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The happy secret to better work and life

TED TALKS with Shawn Achor

smiley-237145_640-pixShawn Achor is the CEO of Good Think Inc., where he researches and teaches about positive psychology.

We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards? In this fast-moving and entertaining talk, psychologist Shawn Achor argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. (Filmed at TEDxBloomington.)

Why should you listen

Shawn Achor is the winner of over a dozen distinguished teaching awards at Harvard University, where he delivered lectures on positive psychology in the most popular class at Harvard.

He is the CEO of Good Think Inc., a Cambridge-based consulting firm which researches positive outliers — people who are well above average — to understand where human potential, success and happiness intersect. Based on his research and 12 years of experience at Harvard, he clearly and humorously describes to organizations how to increase happiness and meaning, raise success rates and profitability, and create positive transformations that ripple into more successful cultures. He is also the author of The Happiness Advantage.

For more information:

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

by Shawn Anchor

Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en

Contact me, if you are interested in working with a therapist who works with Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) and Positive Psychology. I offer a free 20-minute phone consultation to discuss any questions you may have and to find out how I may benefit you as your personal therapist. Call 323-920-9278.

Stop Comparing the Present with the Past

Written by Sara, from Institute of HeartMath.  October 26, 2014

Stop Comparing the Present with the Past

I drove past a church the other day en route to Santa Cruz and the sign they had out front displayed this message: “Don’t dwell on the past because you’re not going back there.” That says it all to me. One of the hardest things for any of us not to do after a crisis or major change is to compare the way life was before with how it is now.

It’s perfectly okay and possibly necessary to do this comparing as we move through grief or deep loss. The time it takes to vent our anger and recover from despair can be different for all of us—and time can’t be forced because healing heartache doesn’t respond to schedules or agendas. Yet, in our own time, we will start to regain some stability and decide to move forward with our life. This was certainly true for me in a past crisis.

It’s a good idea to learn from history – we can get good perspectives about how to do better – and hindsight is 20/20, as they say. But if we dwell, we go around in circles and get caught in the snare of the past, we don’t focus on where we’re going and we can’t create the future we want. In fact, we may recreate what we don’t want. We stay in thought forms that are like carrying a heavy backpack of guilt, blame and other negative emotions. The past weighs a lot when there are unresolved issues and you’re the one paying that price.

Man in TunnelWhen the present is more rewarding than the past, we don’t tend to hang out in the past, so creating more fulfillment in the present can help the healing. HeartMath founder Doc Childre told me how he did this. In a past personal crisis, eventually he realized that to move forward, he had to redirect his thoughts and feelings from the past situation that he couldn’t change in order to be at peace now and build the future. After an understandable period of grief, he started to realize that he was perpetuating deep pain and depression by constantly comparing now with the past. Often, his heart’s intuition would whisper: “Constantly comparing with the past is not helpful for you now. It’s time now to use that energy to move forward with your life.” It was hard at first, but being honest with himself, he knew it was time to take a responsible step towards reducing the emotional toll and inertia from dwelling in the past.

Below is a HeartMath practice that helped him. It is for after the first phase of our initial anger, grief or despair. No one would expect us to be able to stop comparing the past with the present during the first phase of sadness and despair. Be comfortable with your own timing, however long it takes you. Some people do not experience as much loss, pain or despair as others because their situation is different. For them, the first phase could be much shorter, so they may choose to use this practice earlier in their emotional recovery process.

With self-compassion and patience, make a genuine heart commitment to practice recognizing some of your thoughts and feelings of comparison with the past. As you become aware of these thought loops and feel your energy down-spiraling, then from your heart accept that it’s normal to have these thoughts and feelings. Yet, know that constant preoccupation with them can drain and depress your spirit, which you need at this time to re-stabilize and move forward.
Then, in an easygoing way without force, choose something to focus on that doesn’t cause as much pain and energy drain. It often helps to switch thoughts by changing what you are doing in the moment or changing the subject if you are Happy Couple with Dogrehashing the past with someone. You can also replace the thoughts with appreciation for someone you care about.

With practice, you will be able to recognize the thoughts and feelings and then just shift—to something that doesn’t bring you down and leave you with depressed feelings. When this is done from the heart, then you are not repressing feelings, you are transforming them.

HeartMath practices, such as the above, are used by mental health professionals to help people get their system into heart coherence, an optimal state in which the heart, mind and emotions are operating in-sync and balanced. As people activate their hearts to get in sync, they have more capacity to hear their intuition which helps guide them to shift perspectives, so forgiving and releasing the past become possible. Using HeartMath’s emWave® technology before talking about a problem can also help.

Some years ago, I went through a relationship breakup that I didn’t want. It was hard for me not to dwell on comparing every person I met thereafter with that man. It took me a long time to let go of that hurt and accept that maybe life had something else in store for me that would open those same heart feelings so I could feel fulfilled again. I felt like I would never have that great of a relationship experience again. I think a lot of people end up feeling this way. They assume the person they were in the relationship with is the only source of those good feelings they had. It’s helpful to realize that it’s not so much the person you’re enjoying but the feelings you experience that are fulfilling – and you can have those feelings by re-opening your heart with or without another person. This was a big life lesson for me: It’s the feelings in our heart that are opened by love. We can experience those feelings again, even when the one we loved who helped us open our heart is not present – our heart feelings are not dependent on one person. As long as we think so, we’re trapped.Women laying in field

With self-compassion and patience, you can emerge from the depths of challenging times, especially if you connect with the strength that comes from truly putting your heart into the intention to move forward. The first step to activating your heart is having compassion for yourself, which quickens recovery and re-stabilization. It’s important to come from the heart not just the mind to get the full physiological and emotional benefit. You may also need help to re-open your heart if the past you’re trying to release was traumatic. Be proactive: When you start creating the future, your mind starts to free up. And then you can move on.

Source: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/surefire-stress-relief-part-6-reduce-comparing-the-present-with-the-past.html

 Note: For traumatic past events it is best to work with a professional therapist that can guide you through the process.

Contact me, if you are interested in working with a therapist trained in Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB). I offer a free 20-minute phone consultation to discuss any questions you may have and to find out how I may benefit you as your personal therapist.

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Happiness is… A Free 8-week Online Course on The Science of Happiness!

Join me as I embark on this free 8-week online course through The Greater Good Science Center in Berkeley! Sign-up here.

The Science of Happiness

Course Is Now Live! Take It at Your Own Pace Through May 2015

An unprecedented free online course exploring the roots of a happy, meaningful life. Co-taught by the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas. Up to 16 CE credit hours available.

We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. That’s where this course comes in.

“The Science of Happiness” is a free, eight-week online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives.

Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course zeroes in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.

What’s more, “The Science of Happiness” will offer students practical strategies for nurturing their own happiness. Research suggests that up to 40 percent of happiness depends on our habits and activities. So each week, students will learn a new research-tested practice that fosters social and emotional well-being—and the course will help them track their progress along the way.

The course will include:

  • Short videos featuring the co-instructors and guest lectures from top experts on the science of happiness;
  • Articles and other readings that make the science accessible and understandable to non-academics;
  • Weekly “happiness practices”—real-world exercises that students can try on their own, all based on research linking these practices to greater happiness;
  • Tests, quizzes, polls, and a weekly “emotion check-in” that help students gauge their happiness and track their progress over time;
  • Discussion boards where students can share ideas with one another and submit questions to their instructors.
Instructors Emiliana Simon-Thomas and Dacher Keltner
Instructors Emiliana Simon-Thomas and Dacher Keltner

The course will be led by two celebrated teachers from the Greater Good Science Center: Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., the GGSC’s science director, and GGSC founder Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., who is a psychology professor at UC Berkeley and author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good. It will also feature guest presentations by some of the world’s leading authorities on positive psychology, including Rick Hanson,Sonja Lyubomirsky, and Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Students will be able to proceed through this course at their own pace. However, students who participate between September 9 (the course’s launch date) and November 4 will have more opportunities to interact with instructors and fellow students. “The Science of Happiness” is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), hosted on the edX platform, meaning that it will enroll students from all over the world. Though there are many opportunities for students to interact within the course, the opportunities for live interaction with the instructors are limited.

Interested in receiving continuing education units? Click here for more details about how you can receive 6 or 16 credit hours for taking “The Science of Happiness.”

Source: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/news_events/event/the_science_of_happiness

Enjoy and May We All Be Happy and Free from Suffering!

 

Follow my blog and feel free to share it, if you are interested in learning more about healing, psychology, mindfulness, and all things related to helping you feel good about yourself.

Contact me, I offer a free 20-minute phone consultation to discuss any questions you may have and to see if we may be a good therapeutic fit.

 

Feeling Self-Critical? Try Mindfulness

By Emily Nauman | March 10, 2014 | New research shows that mindfulness may help us to stop comparing ourselves to other people.

Many of us feel great about ourselves when we focus on how much success we’ve had in comparison to others. But what happens when we don’t succeed? Self-esteem sinks.

Our Mindful Mondays series provides ongoing coverage of the exploding field of mindfulness research.

GreaterGood.Berkeley.edu’s Mindful Mondays series provides ongoing coverage of the exploding field of mindfulness research.

New research shows that developing mindfulness skills may help us build secure self-esteem—that is, self-esteem that endures regardless of our success in comparison to those around us.

Christopher Pepping and his colleagues at Griffith University in Australia conducted two studies to demonstrate that mindfulness skills help enhance self-esteem.

In the first study, the researchers administered questionnaires to undergraduate students in an introductory psychology course to measure their mindfulness skills and their self-esteem. The researchers anticipated that four aspects of mindfulness would predict higher self-esteem:

  • Labeling internal experiences with words, which might prevent people from getting consumed by self-critical thoughts and emotions;
  • Bringing a non-judgmental attitude toward thoughts and emotions, which could help individuals have a neutral, accepting attitude toward the self;
  • Sustaining attention on the present moment, which could help people avoid becoming caught up in self-critical thoughts that relate to events from the past or future;
  • Letting thoughts and emotions enter and leave awareness without reacting to them.

The results, published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, support the researchers’ predictions: students with these mindfulness skills indeed had higher self-esteem. However, this study did not clarify whether mindfulness causes self-esteem, or whether those with mindfulness also had higher self-esteem because of some other factor.

In order to find out if mindfulness directly causes higher self-esteem, the researchers conducted a second study. They instructed half of the participants to complete a 15-minute mindfulness meditation that focused on the sensation of their breath. The other half of participants read a 15-minute story about Venus fly-trap plants. All of the participants completed questionnaires that assessed their level of self-esteem and mindfulness both before and after they completed the 15-minute task.

Consistent with the researchers’ predictions, those that participated in the mindfulness meditation had higher scores in mindfulness and in self-esteem after meditating, while there was no change in these dimensions for those that read the Venus fly-trap plant story.

Because the only difference between the two groups was whether or not they participated in a mindfulness exercise, these results suggest that mindfulness directly causes enhanced self-esteem.

The authors write that because the effects of the mindfulness exercise on self-esteem in this study were temporary, future research should examine if mindfulness interventions can lead to long-term changes in self-esteem.

However, these findings are promising. The authors write, “Mindfulness may be a useful way to address the underlying processes associated with low self-esteem, without temporarily bolstering positive views of oneself by focusing on achievement or other transient factors. In brief, mindfulness may assist individuals to experience a more secure form of high self-esteem.”

Article from:

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/feeling_self_critical_try_mindfulness

Emily Nauman is a GGSC research assistant. She completed her undergraduate studies at Oberlin College with a double major in Psychology and French, and has previously worked as a research assistant in Oberlin’s Psycholinguistics lab and Boston University’s Eating Disorders Program.

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