Anger

Transforming My Angry Tightness

Last year, my husband Jon wanted me to do something I didn’t want to do. Jon promised his father they would speak on the phone at a certain time. So I had to leave Connecticut earlier than I wanted (to find cell phone reception), cutting short my lovely Sunday afternoon in the country. I felt myself get “tight” in my body, angry at having to make the accommodation.

I am not proud of my selfish reaction. Nevertheless I was powerless to stop it. My body tightened and I pushed back, asking Jon in a complaining voice, “What’s the big deal if you talk to your dad later?” But Jon insisted, claiming he made a promise he wanted to keep. So we rushed out the door.

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Anger

The Myth of Negative Emotions

Emotions that provide us with unpleasant feelings have traditionally (and unfairly) been labelled “negative emotions.” People tend to want to avoid them, force them away, or silence them as soon as they emerge. They are the Rodney Dangerfield of emotions: they get no respect.

The truth is, there is no such thing as a negative emotion, since each emotion has its own role and purpose. In fact, in the book, The Upside of Your Dark Side, authors Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., and Robert Biswas-Diener argue that in order to attain happiness, one has to welcome every emotion (pleasant or unpleasant) and learn how to make the best of them. It is not the emotion that is problematic but rather the way we deal with them that can be. Instead of pushing these emotions away, we should learn to welcome and listen to the important messages these feelings are trying to communicate to us.
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General

How to Win Any Argument

I used to argue. A lot. In fact, I used to burn a lot of bridges. I let my pigheaded nature and lack of self worth get in the way. Since I wasn't confident, my struggle for meaning controlled the things I did. Primarily, this meant that I felt I had to prove myself.

A friend of mine who is on his way to becoming one of the most successful people I know recently sent me the following message: "I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sacrificed learning something by becoming defensive of my own knowledge and abilities and focusing on communicating those qualities versus actually learning from someone who was ahead of me."

Of course, you are not always going to be speaking with someone ahead of you. But the point remains.

Why are you arguing? To defend your viewpoint. And why are you defensive? Because you lack self-worth and/or confidence in your knowledge.
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Happiness

Your Career Never, Ever Reflects Your Self-Worth


Life doesn't listen to your rock star dreams.

Halfway through her recent emotional interview with Ellen DeGeneres, human butt-kicking machine Ronda Rousey started to sob. And it wasn't any of this fake TV ratings junk either.

The 29-year-old began to weep as she recalled her mindset right after she was knocked out while defending her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship title against Holly Holm in November of last year -- a fight she was wildly favored to win.

"What am I anymore if I'm not this?" Rousey recalled wondering in the locker room immediately following her upset loss. "I'm nothing." She admitted that she seriously thought about taking her own life. What's the point now, she remembered thinking, people will hate me.
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Anxiety and Panic

Sneaky Rumination: Replaying Conversations in My Head

After you speak to someone, even if they’re not a stranger, do you find yourself replaying the conversation in your head afterwards? Do you pore over what you said, specifically, and maybe cringe here and there? Do you wish you said something different or worry that you came off as rude or otherwise unlikeable? Does the conversation continue to repeat in your head even long after you’re done being interested in it?

You’re not alone.

“Rumination refers to the tendency to repetitively think about the causes, situational factors, and consequences of one's negative emotional experience (
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Anger

Daddy Dearest: When the Father-Son Bond Just Isn’t There

Golfing buddies, hiking pals, math tutor, and your hero-in-chief. Or not.

I grew up with an emotionally distant father. His parenting style: disinterested with a minor in disdain. There was an aloofness, even coldness.

I vowed to be different than Dad. And I am. But then, innocuously enough, I mutter one of his pithy sayings. Those thoughts, sensations, feelings overflow. I stew, ruminating on the frayed relationship.

Entering adulthood, my father’s detachment gnaws. The demeaning comments rankle; the coolness stings. When Mom (RIP) was alive, her warmth compensated for Dad’s standoffishness.
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General

When a Trauma History Feels Like Unlimited Limitations

Sometimes I try to do things that regular people do, people who don’t have a trauma history, and my PTSD steps in and says, “No, no, sweetheart. I don’t think so.”

I listened to a podcast recently where a handful of people kept dream recordings for a few months and then the most intelligible ones were made into an episode. It required participants to record themselves talking about their dreams with as much detail as possible as soon as they awoke, which could mean in the morning or in the middle of the night.

It was fascinating. Lots of dreams about bosses. Obviously there’s something there, something to be examined. I wanted to try it. I went to bed on a normal, comfortable Sunday and kept dreaming of being raped.
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Anxiety and Panic

The Perks of Being a Highly Sensitive Person

I wanted to take my daughter to the mall. That shouldn’t be so difficult, right?

I overheard her on the phone saying to a friend, “You’re so lucky that your mom likes to shop. My mom HATES the mall.”

It’s true. Malls, like carnivals and amusement parks, give me anxiety. They always have. When I was my daughter’s age (11), adults and peers thought there was something seriously wrong with me because I relaxed under a tree at Kings Island amusement park in Mason, Ohio, while my sisters and friends headed to The Beast -- the tallest, fastest, and longest wooden roller coaster in the world when it was built in 1979.
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Anxiety and Panic

How Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Relationships

Childhood experiences are crucial to our emotional development. Our parents, who are our primary attachment figures, play an important role in how we experience the world because they lay the foundation of what the world is going to look like for us. Is it a safe place to explore and take emotional risks? Are all people out to hurt us and therefore untrustworthy? Can we lean on important people in our lives to support us in times of emotional need?

Complex trauma refers to prolonged exposure to a stressful event. This would include children who have grown up in physically, sexually, and/or emotionally abusive households. Without the safety net of a secure attachment relationship, children grow up to become adults who struggle with feelings of low self-worth and challenges with emotional regulation. They also have an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety.
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Family

Loneliness Has an Antidote and You’ll Never Guess What It Is

I’m somebody who’s struggled with feelings of loneliness my whole life. It’s a big part of why I decided to become a relationship coach. I wanted to understand why some of my relationships felt more substantial than others. I wanted to understand why sometimes I relished being alone, yet other times being alone evoked feelings of profound sadness.

The question I wanted to answer was this: What makes some relationships feel better than others? It was a mystery I was determined to solve.
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Anger

How to Handle Rejection Gracefully

I've been there. I’ve asked girls out on dates and they said no. I've asked for raises or applied for new jobs and have been shut down.

In each instance it’s important to remember to be graceful about how you handle the situation.

I realize it can be extremely hard to hear that something you had hoped for is not going to happen. But how you conduct yourself when you're faced with an ending that didn't go as you'd hoped shows what kind of character you have. Your behavior can set the stage for future encounters with employers or love interests.
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