About uncertainty and striving for perfection.

How wonderful it is when we can finally find ourselves in a calm place! How often do this happen? Not as often as we wish. We are usually at war with ourselves, drowning our calm with meaningless comparisons, drowning our own feelings, and striving to keep reality as a (false) positive one by force.

Today I wanted to share some wise and true are words coming from my dear teacher and friend, Melinda Jacobs (see video). She talks about the ‘striving for perfection paradox’. It’s so important to know that things, just as they are in our lives (and the way we are right now too) are perfect. Calm can be found in uncertainty.

 

You can find Melinda at quantum-therapeutics.com

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Image by Richard Larssen

My body during times of emotional distress.

I find myself currently reading two books. I’m very happy to be able to do this since it’s been a while since I had much time to sit, relax, and read. I also wish I had better memory to remember what I read afterwards. It is a fact I tend to forget a lot but there are always a few sentences which will stick and stay, and I’m grateful for it.

The first book is Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel. Reading this book has been a delight. I have not read a book that made me feel this way since I read All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot a decade ago. Both books are completely different but give me the same (not easy to describe) pleasing, homely, human feeling. This one is simply about walking (through the US) meeting people and being human (it contains so much depth!). It is such a treat and very light to read.

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The second book I‘m reading is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D. A book packed with science and powerful human stories, it’s been amazingly interesting to say the least.

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As of late, while reading both books, I have been going through some very stressful situations, so I decided to share how my body usually reacts during hard times. Believe me when I tell you that both books are related to my train of thought in curious ways.

I am imperfectly human and unashamed to describe how sometimes I go through rough patches. Some expect psychologists to be perfect, have perfect families and perfect knowledge or control over our emotions.  Such ideas are nonsense. The more experienced (in life) and humble about it the psychologist is, the more he/she is able to help people. Perfection helps no one.

The way my body reacts during times of stress is that every single time I experience overwhelming stress or a strong negative experience there is a direct effect on my weight. Yes, weight gain (even if I don’t eat) and stressful times seem to be inevitably linked for me. My digestive system is also invariably affected, migraines and muscular pain are the next step, lack of good sleep, and finally exhaustion are my most common symptoms during hard times (not that all of these happen all the time or in the order in which are mentioned). Always varying in intensity depending on the event, these symptoms are the very reason I got passionate about self-care and eating psychology in the first place. This is the way my body process emotional distress. Through time, I have learn to work on these reactions (and ask for help when necessary), to take care of myself better during difficult times in order to minimize the blow and the recovery time. There is always room for improvement and since life goes on, we never stop learning (or healing).

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I am a strong believer in sharing our experiences in order to help one another. I am also a strong believer in empathy. I believe that there are no bad events or experiences that last forever (unless we keep feeding them). Self-care is a priority, healing is always possible and that’s why I am really enjoying both books so much right now.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web

 

Tips from a highly sensitive person (HSP) living within a highly sensitive family.

Featured image by Geoff Hunter at geoffhunterwildlifeart.wordpress.com

I dare describe being an HSP as having but one constant: its own inconsistency. Living in a household full of HSPs has been the adventure of a lifetime or better said a lifetime of adventure.

Together, through helping each other and learning from each other is how we have learned to thrive. Getting to know each other´s potential and limitations and respecting each other through them has been key in making of sensitivities an opportunity to become better people.

The highly sensitive person has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” (Elaine Aron, Ph.D.)

I would like to share some tips we find helpful as an HSP family:

-Accepting that we cannot handle our sensitivity while being very tired or hungry. Therefore we try to prevent this and if not possible, we understand a limit has been reached and either try to minimize the blow for the HSP in turn or respect their space.

-Accepting that sometimes people don’t understand what being an HSP is all about so our home and family are our safe haven.

-Avoiding (when possible) hostile environments (no matter what people say). Since this kind of situation drains our energy fast and it’s hard not to be affected by the negative energy around.

-Learning to let go easily. Knowing that what may look as “a bad temper outburst” is seldom personal. Instead, we try remembering that it’s probably the result from overstimulation.

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-Spending time in nature or exercising outside. We have learned never to underestimate the power of this one. In our family we know gyms are not for us.

-Having a personal private space. It doesn’t have to be a room. For example, one of our daughter’s private personal space is her bed, if she is there reading, working or even doing nothing she should not be bothered, we know she is recharging.

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-Kindness. Kindness against fears, against negative thoughts and against mistakes, knowing that as HSPs we tend to be harsh on ourselves.

-Practicing receiving. Simply because sometimes we are not good at receiving help or compliments.

-Going for the next best feeling. Some feelings and sensations are hard to overcome and trying to go from overwhelmed and negative to cheerful-positive is impossible; therefore, just taking one step at a time is better and completely ok.

-Learning to take responsibility. Knowing when a person or situation is too much simply because I am the sensitive one and knowing this (too) is completely ok.

-Doing our best. Which means softening the standards (we tend to be very hard on ourselves) and doing what we can at the moment: not what we “should” or what is expected, but what we can.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Some images from the internet.

 

“We are what we eat”… not exactly.

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We are not just what we eat but what we metabolize and, in order to do so, our bodies should be in a relaxed and balanced state. Of course the quality of the food we eat and the choices we make are very important; along with (just as important) stress management and taking care of hidden bottled up emotions. Otherwise, we could be eating the healthiest of foods and still be unable to achieve health.

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People who has survived traumatic events (even from long ago), highly sensitive people and those who live at a fast and stressful pace all the time may see signs of metabolic unbalance even if they follow a healthy diet. Toxic beliefs and negative self-talk also affect how we digest and assimilate food.

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We are complex human beings and  we are not just what we eat… not exactly.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet

Are you a highly sensitive person?

“The highly sensitive person has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” (Elaine Aron, Ph.D.).  I would like to add that a HSP’s inner world is very rich.

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If you think you have this amazing trait please do not try to fix it, do not feel broken, do not feel like a victim. Honor your sensitivity and take into account that all events happening around you affect you more than they will affect everybody else; you might be more prone to emotional eating as a way of protection, more prone to overthinking and self-judgment, might have a hard time with change and letting go.

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I really recommend Dr. Elaine Aron’s book: The Highly Sensitive Person, How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You where you will find a fresh perspective on this trait and great techniques to take care of yourself.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet