Below are the planned scripts for my YouTube episodes along with notes, resources, and images used in the videos. You can click on the title to watch the YouTube video and you can subscribe to my channel by clicking here

Hello, my name is Emily Jurries, my pronouns are she/her and I am Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. Some other places may refer to this as a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Psychotherapist, Talk therapist, outpatient therapist and others. I am starting a channel on YouTube to help provide mental health awareness and coping strategies to hopefully reach more people. I will upload videos surrounding any life topic and then I will provide some perspectives and coping strategies that may be useful for some people. I will also try and provide additional resources along the way. The scripts to these episodes will be put on my website as a blog so if you prefer to read this content in that way, that link is in the notes below. My website is 

One resource that I want to share right away is the new 988 phone number in the United States. This number has officially gone into effect just this year and it is essentially a 911 number specific to mental health emergencies. So if you are dealing with suicidal thoughts and you’re not sure what to do or where to turn, you can call 988. If you see someone else dealing with what appears to be a mental health emergency, you can call 988. 

I know that YouTube videos have the potential to reach a lot of people, so as Adriene Mischler from Yoga with Adriene always reminds me, take what you want and leave what you don’t! 

I wanted to briefly talk about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT in this introduction because that is the primary approach I use when working through life challenges. If you break the term down, it has cognitive, like our thoughts, and behavioral, like our actions. Many other therapeutic approaches, like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Rational Emotive Therapy, and Solution-focused therapy have come from CBT principles, because the focus on our thoughts and actions is incredibly effective. 

To diagram out what I mean, you can picture a triangle and you have your thoughts, actions, and feelings on each point and all 3 are influencing one another - thoughts influence actions and feelings, actions influence thoughts and feelings, feelings influence thoughts and actions. When it comes to feelings, we don’t actually have control over them showing up - which is why all feelings are valid. But when it comes to our actions and thoughts, we have control over our intentional and conscious thoughts and actions, which in turn helps influence how we feel. And that is why focusing on thoughts and actions can be so influential. So going forward in my videos, I will be breaking down the coping strategies as Behavioral and Cognitive. It is really useful to have more than one strategy when dealing with the complexity of our feelings. 

Alright, so that’s it for this introductory episode. Feel free to ask follow up questions or provide ideas of topics you’d like to hear from me in the comments below. I hope you have a great rest of your day!

For this episode, I will be discussing starting therapy and the possible hesitation or nervousness that can come with that. 

These videos will certainly not replace professional help, so for anyone out there that has been a little ambivalent or hesitant or outright fearful, I’m hoping this video will help give you comforting perspectives and I will also provide a specific strategy to help cope with nervousness around entering therapy. 

For starters, there are a good amount of people out there that are fortunate enough to have some pretty great support from friends and family so they often wonder why they would need support from a therapist. To clarify this, support from friends and family often looks more like them feeding and fueling emotions along with you to validate how you feel, like ‘yeah, that is such a jerk move!’ Or it might be that you want specific advice or their perspective on what to do, like ‘should I text them today or wait a few days?’ Support from a therapist is different because 1, we have no preconceived perspectives on you or the people around you, 2, we allow space for all emotions but also help to relate with these emotions in a constructive way, and 3, we don’t actually give any advice. We might give you certain practices or possibly alternative perspectives that could be hard to reach, but we don’t actually give advice on what decisions to make. We are experts on mental health tools and strategies, but you are the expert on yourself. We are more like guides as you actually make the moves. So hopefully that gives a little more perspective on what therapy is and isn’t. 

Now, it is super common to feel some level of concern, nervousness, anxiety, or downright fear, when considering a therapy. The reality is, you do typically talk through the hard parts of your life, which inevitably has some unpleasant emotions that come along with it - maybe loneliness, maybe sadness, maybe anxiety, maybe shame, etc. So it’s understandable that you might have an instinct to avoid this unpleasantness. But one important part of training as a therapist, is that we try to guide the conversation in way that can titrate in the challenging stuff to try to avoid feeling flooded and overwhelmed with unpleasantness. So it’s actually oftentimes the safest environment to deal with unpleasant emotions. 

As you will probably learn on this channel and in therapy yourself, actually feeling unpleasant emotions in a safe way is really important to overall quality of life. That will actually be next episode’s topic so I will provide more clarity on that soon. 

For today, I’m going to give you some strategies for the more intense emotions that might get in the way of starting therapy. 

If you have some concern and nervousness around starting therapy but you are still proceeding with finding a therapist and getting something scheduled, then there’s not much work that needs to be done because it’s not actually interfering with your goal and intention to pursue therapy. You can just say, ‘oh, hey nervousness, I see you, I feel you, I appreciate you looking out for me but I am pleased with my choice to pursue therapy anyway.’ My behavioral coping strategies for this are to try to acknowledge the nervousness, but then refocus on a task that is in the present - reading, working out, playing a game, watching a show, stuff like that. 

If you have a level of nervousness, anxiety or fear that is keeping you from actually searching for, or calling, or scheduling therapy, that’s when we want to do a little more work. Because there’s a part of you that wants to pursue this goal of therapy but these feelings are getting in the way of that. So, my cognitive coping strategy for this is essentially what we call playing out the image or playing through the worst case scenario. Here are the questions you can ask yourself and answer to work through it: 

What am I most nervous/anxious/fearful about? 

If that were to happen, how would I handle it? What would happen next? 

Is that something I can handle? 

And that’s it! See how you are feeling after you have thought through those questions. Maybe there’s just enough wiggle room to take that next step. 

Also, as you may have guessed, these 3 questions work well for a variety of things that we might be wanting to avoid, so feel free to apply them elsewhere!

Alright, so that’s it for this episode. Behavioral strategies are to return your focus to a task in the present, cognitive strategies are to play through what you’re nervous about. I have the 3 questions to ask yourself in the notes below as well as a couple of links to be able to find a therapist of your own. I hope you have a great rest of your day!

The topic for this episode is about how to react and respond to our tough or unpleasant feelings that we often want to avoid or push away. I’m hoping to show in this video that avoiding and pushing away can actually worsen quality of life and allowing the emotions and experiences is the antidote. 

Part of what I will be recommending here is allowing in difficult feelings. If you have been having a hard time recently with feeling really overwhelmed and consumed by intense emotions, then I would recommend seeking professional help. And if you’re having suicidal thoughts or urges, you can call 988 or your local emergency number. 

Okay, so first I want to discuss the benefits of feeling tough feelings. 

This is something that you practice in therapy, in meditation, in pain management, in self-help books. The idea of accepting, allowing, and understanding your feelings without judgment is a really key skill for overall health and quality of life, so it is frequently recommended and taught. 

Here’s an example:

Imagine you’re watching a show with your partner/roommate/sibling/friend. There’s kind of this tightness in your chest or your shoulders and maybe you notice an inkling of annoyance, and it’s a little uncomfortable so you work really hard to refocus on the show. At first, maybe this works fine and you laugh along with the show and focus on that. 

As time passes, hours or days or weeks, you maybe notice feeling a little distant from that person or maybe you start making passive aggressive comments towards them. At this point, you start to realize you are a little irritable overall but you have no idea why. 

So let’s back up to the first moment of noticing some tightness in your chest or shoulders. Instead of just refocusing on the show, you lean in without judgment. Tightness, tension, anger. You realize you feel angry so then inquire with your anger - what are you trying to say? You recognize that you once again didn’t get to pick out the show and you have never been asked what you wanted to watch. It feels a little unfair and thus, angering. 

So now, you can proceed with a better understanding of how to move forward: maybe you decide to still return to enjoying the show, but since you gave the emotion attention, it’s not something that continues to build resentment over the other person that then comes out in other ways. You might also now have more awareness of this trigger so that in future evenings maybe you do ask if you can pick the show for that night. 

Or maybe you do communicate your feelings in that moment: “I’m realizing I’m starting to get angry about not getting to pick the show. Can we check in with each other about what to watch going forward?” 

Either way of handling it, you’re much more likely to not have background resentment building up and creating a disconnection, like what had started happening without leaning into the discomfort. Taking the time to lean into the emotions, understand where they are coming from, and then respond from there can dramatically change your mood and connections with other people. 

In the book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown talks about the idea of normalizing discomfort. She says that instead of trying to increase comfort with uncomfortable feelings, confrontations, and vulnerabilities, that we instead need to normalize the fact that it’s not comfortable, and that’s okay. And the benefits of being temporarily uncomfortable far outweigh our attempts at avoiding it; particularly because the more we avoid, the more uncomfortable and limited are lives can become. 

Another way to think about the benefits of leaning into uncomfortable feelings is through primary and secondary emotions. 

Primary emotions come up based upon whatever initially triggered them and then secondary emotions occur as a result of the primary emotion. We often fall into a trap of feeling sad and then feeling embarrassed about being sad. Or feeling anxious and then feeling frustrated that we’re anxious. 

These secondary emotions are still valid, like all feelings, but we can experience much fewer secondary emotions when we’re willing to give non-judgmental attention to our primary feelings. If I feel sad and I immediately tell myself, 'it’s okay to feel sad, I can be with this, it makes sense to feel sad.' Then I’m much less likely to experience secondary embarrassment, frustration, or shame. 

So in this sense, using techniques to lean into discomfort and unpleasantness, can actually have immediate short-term relief. 

So there are long-term benefits of not having emotions build up and creating disengagement or disconnection, and short-term benefits of having less secondary emotions that can make the situation that much more difficult. 

Okay, so now that I’ve given my pitch for the ‘why’ of not avoiding tough feelings and discomfort, I will give you a few strategies to do this in a constructive way. 

First, I want to discuss the skill of noticing signals that you’re becoming overly consumed or engulfed by your emotions. Just as avoidance is not very constructive, trying to manage feelings at a 10 out of 10 escalation level is also not very constructive. So you want to know your own personal signals of being at a 7/10 or higher in feeling escalated. 

*I use the word escalated because it can be different emotions happening that are escalating and occurring.  

I can’t actually tell you what your signals are because we’re all different with what emotions are likely to escalate and we’re all different in how they present. But, some clues to keep an eye out for are paying attention to your body, like tightness, tension, shaking/feeling shaky, clenching your fists, feeling warm, having your eyebrow or jaw really tense or clenched, crying, heart rate up, breathing changes, all different stuff like that. Also clues from your urges, like if you have the urge to run away, yell, push, kick, throw something, cry, isolate, or hit yourself or hurt yourself, eat when you're not hungry, drink alcohol. And then emotions can also be a clue but are hard to detect a lot of times. Some of the more obvious emotional experiences that you might feel are anger, frustration, irritation, sadness, panic, or pain. 

So my recommendation is start paying attention to all these pieces when you are experiencing a shift in emotion to help determine your signals. 

Now, I’ll give you a behavioral skill that helps in titrating in unpleasant emotions, which can be particularly helpful for experiences that are more intense or overwhelming or hard to let yourself feel. You can use this for less intense emotions too, which will help give you practice and prepare to use it for more intense emotions. 

It’s called setting your home base. I learned this technique through meditations in the meditation app Ten Percent Happier, started by Dan Harris. Your home base is a place where you can return to if you notice that you are beginning to feel overwhelmed by your emotions. 

First, you choose a home base - a focal point that you can count on being there. Maybe it’s focusing on your feet or your hands and the sensations going on there; maybe it’s focusing on your breath; maybe it’s pressing a thumb into your other palm; maybe it’s focusing on your left elbow and those sensations; maybe it’s focusing closely on the sounds occurring around you. You want it to be something in the present moment that is a mostly neutral stimulus. 

Once you have chosen your home base, practice focusing on this. The idea is for you to be able to feel calm in your home base. Slowing down your breathing, breathing in your nose, and maybe taking slightly deeper breaths are great ways to strengthen this feeling of calm. 

Once you feel solid with your home base, you can then titrate in the challenging emotions. So maybe you’re in a therapy session or with a friend or a family member or journaling talking about an intense moment of feeling really depressed or anxious - you can talk/write in more detail about what you felt, what you thought, how this impacted you.

And if you notice beginning to get overwhelmed to the point of it being too much, you return to your home base for a few breaths. 

And then you can try it again. 

This way, you are allowing yourself some time to be with the unpleasantness, but then pulling yourself back out of it if it’s too much. 

Okay, so now a cognitive strategy. This practice helps with accepting and allowing tough emotions to be there and I call it the bench visualization. I got this from the book First We Make the Beast Beautiful: A new journey through anxiety by Sarah Wilson. 

She describes visualizing herself sitting on a bench and her anxious self sitting next to her. 

You don’t have to do anything else with this, just imagine sitting next to yourself on a bench and the self next to you is dealing with whatever you’re feeling - anxiousness, depression, loneliness, sadness, anger, frustration, whatever it might be. The idea is to have a non-judgmental and permissible vibe towards this feeling.It also helps as a reminder that you are not the emotion and you are not defined by that emotion - it’s just something occurring and happening in that moment and it’s okay for it to be there. 

Sometimes I expand this visualization by giving my anxious self a little side hug and a warm smile to really emphasize the acceptance and compassion that I’m trying to convey towards that feeling. Feel free to make your visualization your own too!

Okay, so those are my strategies for allowing, accepting, and practicing non-judgment towards our unpleasant and challenging feelings. The resources I mentioned are again cited below in the notes and the images are on the blog post on my website. 

Thanks for listening in and have a great day!

Notes - 

If you are in an unsafe place or have been feeling overwhelmed in trying to manage intense emotions, I encourage you to seek outside help from professionals, emergency responders (911, 988, local emergency resources), or a trusted friend/family member/neighbor. 

Resources mentioned:

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

First We Make the Beast Beautiful: A new journey through anxiety by Sarah Wilson.

‘Ten Percent Happier’ App created by Dan Harris, which also has an accompanying free podcast that has really helpful interviews and episodes relating to this topic. 

This episode is about coping with some of the challenging aspects of the holidays. 

Regardless of what you do or don’t celebrate, this time of year often includes some time off from school and work and thus, family gatherings and get-togethers. And with these family gatherings, less time working, and sometimes more traveling, there can be some stressful elements. This will, of course, look different for each of us, but there are a few things that I hear often with the holidays and that I also personally experience this time of year. So 3 elements I will discuss briefly today are loss, financial stress, and family discord. 

As you might imagine, there is a ton of work in therapy that can be done on each of these topics individually and I may have future episodes that elaborate further, but this episode will hopefully give you just a couple strategies to possibly help. 

The first one I will discuss is loss.

This might be the death or deaths of people that you care about, which might have been really recent or from many years back. 

This might also be other kinds of losses - maybe there has been a separation within a family and there is grief regarding how this time of year used to look for you. Maybe there are ambiguous losses like a child that you relinquished or friend/family member that you were separated from and haven’t been able to reconnect. Maybe it’s the loss of a pet. 

Whatever your loss might be, grief can be a challenging emotional experience and can be a part of this time of year. 

When it comes to grief, there are a few things I want to emphasize: this looks different for everyone - meaning how you express it, what you feel in your body, how you cope with it, how long it lasts in a moment of grief, how often it comes up. There are no specific, chronological stages of how it “should” look and how long you “should” experience it. So your grief is allowed to be however it wants to be. 

Below is a “Mourner’s Bill of Rights” that helps to describe this point about grief. It’s specifically referring to a death, however, they still ring true for other losses as well. 

You may be thinking, isn’t it a problem to a certain extent if grief/bereavement is lasting too long? 

That’s a great question and the simple answer is yes. But this is very much based upon your own individual experience and how much it is interfering with daily life. If a loved one died a year ago and you’re having a really hard time being able to go to work or interact with others or take care of yourself, then this is complicated grief, which means the grief has triggered and morphed into more of a mental illness. So you will want to seek professional help to manage this. 

But the reality of grief is, it continues to exist throughout our lives. 

Some losses that I experienced occurred over a decade ago and I will still take moments to grieve these losses, particularly during the holidays. 

All this is to say that grief can be a part of our holidays and celebrations and that’s okay. It likely won’t be felt the entire time and there will likely be opportunities for many other emotions like excitement, joy, gratitude. So when you notice your grief, you can let it be there. Acknowledge it, let yourself state what you miss about that loss, let yourself feel sad or nostalgic, or angry. It’s understandable, it makes sense, and it’s temporary. 

I know that some people will experience grief in a way that can lead to gratitude of their own life and the other things that they do have. So, if that’s something that resonates with you, maybe that helps to transition from the pain to other parts of our experience. If you would like more skills on how to be with unpleasant emotions, you can watch episode 3 that provides a couple other specific tools. 

Okay, so that’s actually all I recommend with loss. No real magical tool, just letting yourself have some time with it. 

Next we’ll discuss financial stress. 

For this challenge, I cannot provide actual financial advice because I am not at all trained in financial advising or consulting. So, if you’re looking for specific financial advice, I encourage you to seek support from someone qualified in that field. Some banks will provide free financial consultation, so you might consider calling up your bank or a local bank or doing an online search to see if there are free financial consultation options in your area. I provided a link to an article that talks about possible free resources in the notes. Also, sometimes there are family members or friends that might be financially savvy, so you might consider reaching out for help from those supports. 

What I am going to discuss, is addressing the stress and worries that can sometimes accompany finances. Understandably, finances can quickly create some alarm in our minds and bodies because we do need a level of financial stability in order to have safety and the ability to care for ourselves. So it can quickly become scary when money is tight or we don’t have enough of it or we are spending a lot at once and maybe dipping into savings - like during this time of year when we might be traveling more or buying gifts for others. 

The problem with this alarm in our minds and bodies, is that it can lead to some habits that aren’t necessarily helping us through the problem. Worrying is actually a thought habit that can come from stress and anxiety that makes us feel like we’re doing something about it - because we’re thinking about it and worrying on it - when in reality we aren’t. And other habits might also be in place that might not be helpful but maybe provide some temporary reward or comfort, like spending more money or isolating from others or eating a bunch of food that our body isn’t asking for. 

There is an episode on the Ten Percent Happier podcast with Dan Harris where he interviews Judson Brewer (November 28, 2022) about anxiety and he talks about these habit loops, similar to what I’m describing. He advises to identify the habit loops, question what the habits are actually doing for you, and then taking a new step that breaks the habits, like being curious about what’s going on in your experience of anxiety and worry. 

This is essentially what I’m recommending with financial stress. Notice what habit loops come up when your financial stress is triggered, identify what habits are helping and what habits aren’t, and then come up with a new step. When it comes to financial stress specifically, a new step in the habit loop might entail creating or checking or adjusting a budget. 

If you already have a budget, then look it over. Sometimes you can get some reassurance that will be able to make it through the holidays financially. If looking at your budget you realize that you won’t have enough money coming in for expenses, take specific action - where might you have to set difficult boundaries to stay within your budget? do you see a path where you can spend the money on your expenses and then be able to cover it next month? how can you manage where you are? 

If you don’t have a budget, create one. You can keep it really simple - just note what money will come in for this month, note what you have in your savings if any, and then write out estimations of what you might spend or have already spent on monthly bills and subscriptions, about how much your utilities cost, estimation of how much you spend on food, and then the additional holiday expenses of travel (gas, plane or train or bus tickets), gifts for people, extra food expenses. 

The basic idea in managing the stress is to actually do something with the stress as opposed to remaining stagnant and just having our heads spin, which doesn’t actually get us to a better place. Take action, make a spending plan, refer back to your spending plan and make adjustments as needed. 

Alright, the last section of this episode is family discord or apprehension. 

People often identify all levels of dread when it comes to anticipation of family gatherings. You will want to try to figure out for yourself what you are specifically dreading about the family gatherings. One thing that I hear often is political and religious differences that might be talked about and evoke emotions like frustration, anger, hurt, sadness, fear, anxiety, stress. Other stresses might be ongoing tensions due to past familial arguments, disagreements, or past family trauma. Or just stress being around a bunch of people all at once when you’re used to not being in a group or crowd of people. Maybe the social anxiety of being judged or having to present yourself in a specific way for this group of people. 

There are a ton more reasons that there might be some apprehension or dread for family gatherings. I encourage you to investigate your reasons and you might use the questions discussed in episode 2 about apprehension of starting therapy. 

But in this episode I want to provide a couple ideas for dealing with the political/religious differences and discussions. The reason these conversations can be so inflammatory, is because we often have a lot of our own values attached to them and when we feel an attack on our values, our emotions run high. It can feel very personal when we are interpreting the situation as though the other person is attacking our values. Now, we might not be aware in the moment that this dynamic of our values being attacked and thus, as a person we’re being attacked, is happening. But this is a common underpinning of the resulting behavior, which can often look like yelling, defending our stance, justifying our beliefs in an aggressive way, or fully shutting down and not engaging at all. These are self-protective behaviors that, unfortunately, create disengagement, a lack of understanding, and disconnection. 

It’s like a winning mentality comes in - I have to win this discussion. 

When you take a step back, it’s not actually that you have to or want to win. Usually, what we want is to be understood. And the reason being understood and heard is so important, is because we want connection. So, if we can remember that what we really want is to connect and understand, it can significantly change how you act and thus the course of the conversation. 

What we can do with this idea, is we can prime our brains to enter into these conversations with a slightly different conscious intention: to connect. And if we think about how to connect, one way to do that that we already identified in recognizing our own needs, is someone feeling heard and understood. 

We can’t necessarily control other people fully hearing us to try and understand, but we can try to show others that we are truly listening to understand them. You might use clarifying questions, you might reflect back what they’re saying to see if you’re understanding, you might say “I understand where you’re coming from.” And your behaviors shifting in this discussion might shift their behaviors as well, because they might be less escalated and less defensive and more able to have a productive conversation. 

So it might get you closer to being heard yourself, and even if not, you are at least building a stronger connection by hearing and understanding them - which is the actual intent of the conversation. 

So that is a lens that I wanted to provide. 

Now I will also talk about behavioral coping strategies that might help to prevent feeling escalated and defensive or help if you are starting to feel escalated and/or defensive:

- Have boundaries for yourself. You shouldn’t have to share what you don’t want to. If there is a certain topic you’d like steer clear from, you can assert this in a respectful way, “I’m not going to contribute to discussions around politics right now, so if that is what you and other people want to discuss I’ll take a break elsewhere.”

- Give yourself permission to walk away if your boundaries aren’t being respected. For example, if someone continues to try to pressure you into a topic you said you didn’t want to talk about, tell them you are walking away and walk away from that, “I am not going to be talking about this topic today so I am walking away from this conversation.”

- If you are catching early signals of escalation, slow down your breathing, breathe in your nostrils, and take longer breaths. This will help send calming signals to your body. 

- Use other tools that can help increase the pause between your immediate reaction to your response, like pressing your hands together, pressing your feet firmly in the ground, counting to 10.

- Find other stimuli to focus on if you’re around tough conversations that you don’t want to be a part of, like background noises, how your clothes feel on your skin, the warmth or coolness, different sights, different smells.

- Find other people to talk to or spend time with.

Okay, so those are the different perspectives and tools I wanted to give to you in preparation for this time of the year. 

Remember to take what you want and leave what you don’t. Also remember that these topics don’t have quick easy fixes, even though this video might try to make it seem that way, so I encourage you to seek further support as needed. 

Thanks for listening in and have a great day!


If you are in an unsafe place or have been feeling overwhelmed in trying to manage intense emotions, I encourage you to seek outside help from professionals, emergency responders (911, 988, local emergency resources), or a trusted friend/family member/neighbor.


Mourner’s Bill of Rights: 

Ten Percent Happier podcast with Dan Harris where he interviews Judson Brewer (November 28, 2022)

*Unwinding Anxiety: A New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal your Mind by Judson Brewer

Article on finding free financial advice:

Creating a budget resource: 

This episode I am tackling the question of whether or not we can “trust” our feelings. I decided on this topic because I have heard books and podcasts make statements about trusting them, not trusting them, following our feelings, not follow our feelings. It sounds like there really is a consensus about what to do with feelings regardless of which side of the argument you are on, so I wanted to share that here. 

In the notes, I mention a couple of the places that I have heard this phrase come up in case you are interested in hearing and reading those perspectives. 

As I have come to understand it, the argument to trust our feelings goes something like this: all of our feelings, including physical and emotional feelings, are coming up for a reason and are valid. Thus, we should pay attention to what is coming up for us and consider what these feelings are trying to tell us in order to make decisions that are in-line with our values and our true selves. 

Our feelings also might be important in setting boundaries that will actually help foster our connections. Our feelings might point out injustices and issues that we want to stand up for. Our feelings might help us understand ourselves and other people better. 

Some will argue that our body is the true compass to living a good life because the feelings and reactions and even physical pain can help signal you away from things not in line with your values and help guide you towards things that are in-line with your values. Martha Beck, a well-known life coach, talks about this in her book The Way of Integrity. 

On the other side, the argument to not trust our feelings, I think is mostly referring to the fact that our feelings are coming from our own interpretations and assumptions and beliefs about a situation and therefore, can be a little misguided regarding what is actually happening or what might be the best reaction. For example, if someone in the grocery store walks by you and makes eye contact and then sighs, presenting hostile or irritable as they go past, you will feel differently and have different urges based on how you interpret that. 

If you interpret that as: this person is frustrated at me and with me, then you might feel angry at this injustice or fearful of what they might say or do to you. And this anger and fear could, for some people, lead to a confrontation in an attempt to defend yourself.

Or, if you interpret the situation as this person is having a rough day and their feelings have nothing to do with you, then you likely won’t feel much anger or fear or have any urges to confront them or defend yourself. You might instead feel some empathy around having a bad day and try to give them a warm smile or more space.

So when you consider this example, you could understand why people might feel like you can’t trust your feelings because in that first interpretation, an assumption led to the anger and urge to confront the person when then might not have been accurate to what was happening for the other person and lead to possibly unnecessary conflict.

And there are a lot of examples where we typically don’t want to react the way our initial feelings seem to want us to react. For example, feeling angry and having the urge to punch someone, or feeling anxious and having the urge to not do our presentation that we’re required to do, or feeling depressed and having the urge to lay in bed all day even though that has been depleting our energy further. In these examples, our feelings might actually seem to be guiding us away from actions that get us closer to our ultimate goals, like having connections with people, building confidence in our work, and helping ourselves find some joy again. 

In either argument, there is still an importance in paying attention to and understanding our feelings. And this is confirmed in all the sources that I have seen this topic posed. The conclusions still come back to acknowledging what is coming up, and taking time to reflect on that. 

So, in my opinion, if you want an answer to the question, can we trust our feelings, my simple answer would be yes. 

It depends on what you exactly mean by trusting our feelings, because as noted before, some urges from our feelings that arise don’t always bring us towards our goals and can be based on interpretations that are not known to be true. But also, all feelings are coming up for a reason; all feelings are valid in some way; and all feelings are giving us data and information about ourselves that are important. 

In the example of the irritated person making eye contact with you, if you interpret it as them being angry with you and you begin to feel angry and defensive, that is important information to notice and reflect on. Those feelings are valid - it is valid to feel angry at the idea of a stranger being angry with you when you did not take any action towards them. The idea would be to notice the anger, recognize that your assumption may not be accurate, and then at some point reflect on where that assumption came from. 

Is it a pattern that I assume that people are angry with me? Where might this pattern be coming from? What assumptions do I have about myself if I am frequently assuming that people are angry with me? 

A lot can be considered and reflected on there. 

Our physical and emotional feelings are important signals that are a culmination of our past experiences and current beliefs. And paying attention to our feelings can help us better understand what our current beliefs are, how they came about, and how we’d like to respond to them going forward. So trust that your feelings are important, but take the time to reflect and investigate them before reacting to them. 

That’s it for this episode. I hope you have a great day!


Ten Percent Happier Podcast with Dan Harris - Episode title is Can you really trust your feelings? From November 9, 2022

The Subtle Art of not giving a f***: A counterintuitive approach to living a good life by Mark Manson

The Way of Integrity: Finding the path to your true self by Martha Beck

Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown

YouTube Channel Yoga with Adrienne

This episode is about fertility or infertility and coping with some of the difficult emotions and circumstances that can arise for some people on this journey.

I am on my own fertility journey and I have experienced stress, loneliness and isolation, anxiety, grief, hopelessness, shame, disappointment, and plenty of other emotions. 

I was recently interviewed on Jill Cruz’s podcast speaking to these emotions and the mindsets that helped me through it, so I decided to have an accompanying episode where I can more specifically share possible helpful coping tools. 

To begin, I want to briefly expand on the difficult emotions that I experienced and how they make sense, in case this is something other people might relate to. 

Anxiety was a major factor in this journey. And, as a clinician, I fully understand that stress and anxiety are not helpful in fertility; but it’s not something we can just turn off because we know that. In fact, knowing that sometimes made it harder because I would feel stressed and anxious about feeling stressed and anxious. When you have been trying to conceive for several months, so much uncertainty germinates. Will this ever happen for us? How will it happen? When will it happen? And those are big questions, and the answers to those questions are life-changing. So it makes sense to have anxiety with those unknowns. 

There was also a lot of grief in the beginning. When everyone around you seems to be getting pregnant immediately after getting off birth control or even accidentally before trying, a part of you assumes it will happen for you right away as well. So each month that it didn’t, there was grief and sadness and disappointment that it didn’t happen that month. 

The loneliness and isolation were really big factors. I had my partner to talk things through with, and he was supportive and available. But we didn’t experience the same kinds of thoughts and feelings at the same time. We have honestly, been in very different emotional places for a lot of this journey together. And I had, unconsciously, decided to not tell anyone when we had started trying. Why? I’m not sure. Reflecting back now, I have to assume it ties in with the shame that I will be speaking about momentarily. But I felt lonely in having a different experience than my partner and I felt isolated that I was having these anxieties and moments of grief without talking to other supports about it.

And shame was the primary barrier in being open with friends and family. Shame told me that there was something wrong with me and something wrong with my body. Shame told me that my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to be doing. And shame told me to keep quiet about it so that no one will know of this fatal flaw.  

I am fortunate to have the training, support, and resources that I have, because I was able to manage these distressing emotions fairly well: I made sure to take good care of myself, pay attention to signals from my body of what was helping and not helping, and take actions that would directly address some of my needs around the situation. 

So now I’m going to switch over to talk about a few of these actions and perspectives that helped me feel differently about my journey. 

Step 1: Prioritizing self-care. 

First and foremost, I had to audit how I was doing with basic needs and find time in my days and weeks to fit in intentional self-care. It’s important to do an audit on your sleep, nutrition, water intake, activity levels, substance use, and having time for things that can lead positive emotions. Once you’ve reflected on all of these areas, you can work towards small goals to improve. For me, I wanted to increase movement, water, and vegetables and I wanted to reduce drinking alcoholic beverages socially. An important consideration is often time, especially when it comes to incorporating movement. I didn’t come up with one set routine and then stick with it every single day, but I did experiment with going to bed earlier, waking up earlier, and trying out different morning routines to fit in some more movement. Specifically, yoga, which brings me to the next step:

Step 2: Practice listening to your body.

Listening to our bodies is important for a lot of reasons. Our body tells us when we’re hungry and thirsty, what nutrients are missing, when we have to go to the bathroom, when we have reached our limits, when we have unmet needs, what emotions we have going on. If we pay close attention to signals from our body and practice listening in on it, we will be better attuned to our own needs and better able to meet those needs. AND, when we are more attuned with our body, we can have a closer, more loving, more appreciative and more respectful relationship with our body. Which is hugely important when you’re having thoughts relating to your body not working as it should. 

There are lots of ways to practice listening to your body. It can be particularly useful around meals and cravings, exercising, and when you have shifts in your mood or emotions. You can begin to practice scanning through your body when cravings, urges, and emotions arise, looking for areas of tension, tightness, aches, pain, contraction, tingling, shaking, coolness, warmth.  

You can practice meditations, which has you observe your present experience non-judgmentally and often encourages body scans and fully experiencing the moment with your whole body. 

The way that I practiced listening to my body was with meditation and yoga. Specifically, I follow Yoga With Adriene on YouTube and she does a fantastic job guiding yoga practices in a way that encourages you to build your awareness of sensations going on in your body. Some of her frequent phrases are to “Find what feels good” and to “see feelingsly” both referring to using cues from your body to guide your practice. For me, yoga isn’t for exercise, it’s a moment of self-care where I can connect and respect my body. And don’t get me wrong! I did not enter yoga with that purpose and I did not have the love and respect for my body that I do now. But with taking time to listen to my body and connect to my body, overtime, I built more and more appreciation and respect for it. 

Step 3: Counseling.

This one I don’t have much to expand on. I got a new therapist to give myself an additional support and safe space to work through my feelings so that I didn’t have to rely on my partner to be my only support. Which brings me to the next step:

Step 4: Talk about experiences and feelings with trusted family members and friends. 

Once I had opened up about my feelings in counseling, it became easier to slowly start opening up to more people. I didn’t tell everyone I knew all at once - that route felt overwhelming and not suited for me, but that could be suited for you depending on your journey. But I slowly started to talk to my sister and my mom and my best friends about the fact that we have been trying to conceive without success. And I was able to share my feelings about this. 

I found it really important to share my feelings in order to receive the type of support I was looking for. 

If I just said, ‘we’ve been trying for a long time without success’ - and waited for their response - I notice that people really don’t know what to say back to that. Rightfully so, they don’t want to immediately pity you or indicate that that’s a “bad thing,” but they also have a sense that you could be upset or stressed about it since conceiving is your goal and hasn’t happened yet, which would typically lead to that sympathy response. But, if I also communicated, 'it’s been really disappointing each month and I feel stressed about needing assistance from doctors.’ Then, they can specifically support me in those feelings: yeah, I can understand feeling disappointed when you expect another outcome; it is stressful to imagine this journey looking different than how you pictured it. 

I feel very lucky that I have supportive and mostly non-judgmental people in my life. I know that not everyone has that and that you could receive reactions that possibly worsen your feelings. The tips I have about that are to 

Step 5: Practice mantras.

Some of us might have some preconceived ideas on what mantras are and how they are used. But here, I’m using the word mantra to describe a phrase that you can repeat and return to that feels soothing and helps to redirect your thought process. 

For me, I dealt with loops of negative thoughts related to my body not being able to do what it’s supposed too, or something being wrong with me and loops of anxious thoughts about what am I going to do if I don’t get pregnant this cycle, will this ever happen for, what will I be willing to do to make this happen, what other options should I be considering. I did okay with catching these thoughts and trying to find more constructive ways to use my thinking. But what really helped me, was finding the right mantras and using those to drop my negative thought habits and land in a more soothing spot. 

I will list some of my mantras here, but it’s important to find ones that resonate with you. You know that it resonates by how your body responds - hence our practice of listening to our body! When my chest tightens and pressure builds, I know that that mantra in that moment is not working for me. But if I notice a softening in my chest, I know that that mantra is sitting well. As you listen to my mantras, you might notice your body react in different ways: 

I am whole. I have everything I need. I am supporting life. My body is capable of supporting life. I am enough. I am creative. I contribute to living things around me. My body allows me to support living things around me. I am grateful for my body. Getting pregnant is inevitable. I am pregnant with a healthy baby. 

I will admit, I was skeptical of those last two that are manifestations, but my body responds really well to them most of the time, so I use them! 

Some of the above mantras go well with the final step: 

Step 6: Culminate a new perspective and mindset. 

The previous steps were crucial in developing a new perspective, but I should add that guided meditation courses in the TenPercent Happier App, the books that are listed on my website, Yoga with Adriene, Live Fertile with Kendra Tolbert, and a fertility nutritionist were also a very big part in my perspective switch. 

There were 3 key points of wisdom that stuck with me and helped me to build a practice that ultimately led me to feel less anxious, more at peace, and grateful with the journey that I’m on:

And these 3 points all work together in a way that was really important for me. Because the thing is, I felt so attached to this outcome of becoming pregnant because I assigned my value and worth around becoming a mom; hence the anxiousness at not knowing how or when that would happen. But, if I can recognize that we’re all connected and all impacting one another, then I can better see that I have value, worth, and an impact on others already, even without being a mom. I can trust that I will continue to have an impact on others regardless of my future. I do not need to rely on becoming a mom for meaning or purpose or impact. 

Recognizing that my life is sacred is important in reminding me live how I want to live. It encourages me to give myself and this journey a purpose regardless of future outcomes. 

The purpose I am assigning to this journey is how much I have learned about myself. I have experienced new levels of anxiety and loneliness that help with my empathy and connection to others. And I can have purpose in the present through strengthening existing connections, taking care of my body and other living things, and taking care of the planet. 

In conclusion, I have been able to land in a peaceful place of knowing that my life is important, knowing that I am contributing to and supporting life already, and trusting that this will continue to remain true in my uncertain future. 

I know that some of my language used here might be perceived in different ways or possibly doesn’t all make sense, so once again, take what you want and leave what you don’t. These are some things that help me feel at peace and I hope it can possibly help you in some way as well. 

I wish you all the best!


Resources that helped with these steps can be found in the resources section of my website ( 

Additionally, Live Fertile with Kendra Tolbert on YouTube ( 

Today’s topic is dealing with feeling low on energy. This is certainly something that we all experience and it can be kind of frustrating or just interfere with our day. So in this episode, I will talk about the steps that might help get closer to having the energy we want to have.

*If low energy is a consistent problem that you’ve been dealing with for weeks or months, I recommend informing a primary care provider of this in case there are any medical conditions that could be contributing. Also, they can refer you to someone else that might be able to help.

The first step is the one that I’ll spend the most time on: knowing your context. This is referring to having the awareness of the different things that could be impacting your energy so that you can best help yourself. In Lisa Feldman Barrett’s book, How Emotions are Made, she talks about your “body budget.” This body budget is a useful analogy to consider what might be impacting the current state of your body. 

“Withdraws” are things that would take away from your body’s resources and energy, while "deposits" are things that help with replenishing resources and energy. So you might consider deposits as sleep, food and nutrients, water. And withdraws are a whole host of things that would take energy and resources like working, cleaning, taking care of others, or just feeling certain strong emotions, like stress or sadness or anger. 

So when you’re feeling low energy, you could consider the context of your day of what kind of deposits and what kind of withdraws may be contributing to your current state. 

Here are some questions and considerations for knowing your context: 

What time of day is it currently? 

If you’re a morning person and it’s the evening, you might have less energy because of the time of day and natural circadian rhythms in your body.

What have I eaten and when did I last eat? 

If you just at a big meal, you might be tired from that as your body works to digest the meal and/or possibly recovers from a sugar rush. Conversely, if you have had very little to eat today, you might be low on energy because you don’t have enough fuel. 

How much water have I had today? 

Hydrating is an important deposit for our body budgets. Less hydration can mean less energy. 

How did I sleep last night? 

One of the more obvious factors to consider, if you didn’t sleep well you might be more fatigued and not have as much energy. 

How has my physical health been? 

When you’re sick with some sort of virus or bacterial infection, your body will want to focus its resources there and you might be low energy. Resting is probably useful in these instances. 

What activities have I been engaged in? 

If you’ve been on your feet a lot, you might be low energy because of how much energy you have already used up. Or if your activities had you seated and sedentary most the day, your body might falsely predict that you don’t have energy, hence the feeling of low energy - more on that in a moment. 

How has my mental health been? 

Anxiety and depression are two umbrellas of mental health that are extremely common occurrences and both can create a feeling of fatigue and low energy. Typically, people with significant anxiety are fatigued due to their body being in a state of high stress and tension, so this level of low energy might deserve some attempts at relaxing the body. But for people dealing with significant depression, the low energy is more likely due to the fact that there has been less interest and motivation, thus, less activity overall and more staying in bed or being sedentary. Which means that their bodies likely have more resources available to expend energy and their bodies are making that false prediction again. In those cases, it can be very impactful to use the steps below and find ways to move and build upon small increments of energy - almost like proving to your body that you do have energy by getting up and doing things despite how you feel. 

Additionally, life is filled with possible stressors that might be more acute and definitely energy-sucking. Take time to consider what stressors you have been facing or have had in the back of your mind. How have you been coping with these stressors?

Have I utilized any medications or substances today? 

Some medicines and substances lower our energy, so being mindful of that is another piece of the puzzle. 

Okay, so let me go back to my brief mentions about these “false predictions.” This is another part of Barrett’s book and she talks about how our brain makes predictions based off of our body budget and lots of other things, like past experiences, learned concepts, and current sensory information. To be efficient, your mind uses these different pieces of information and quickly makes a prediction that it believes will best help achieve homeostasis, or balance within the body. Sometimes these predictions are pretty accurate and thus, helpful. Other times these predictions are not super helpful with the current moment. 

So, as I alluded too above, when we’ve been sitting all day our mind might be making the prediction that we need to conserve energy and that is why we’ve been sitting all day. And if it makes a prediction that we need to conserve energy, then it’s going to send signals of saying your body is low on energy; hence, feeling low energy. In reality, your body might have plenty of resources to be up and moving. 

That is why knowing your context is so important because you want to be able to understand where that low energy feeling could be coming from prior to taking action. If, after you reflect, you think that you might have enough resources to build your energy back up, then try out one or all of these recommended steps below to slowly make your way there. 

All right the next step is to take deep belly breaths. This one is great because you don’t have to move or go anywhere or get up. You can just start taking slow inhales - in your nose if possible - and slow exhales. The idea is to breathe into your stomach and use all of your lungs to the point where you can feel your stomach expand on the inhale and then deflate slowly on the exhale. A lot of times just doing about five belly breaths can help improve our energy by increasing oxygen in your body. Some people enjoy belly breathing to specific counts so if that is your preference, you might try 5-7-8 (inhale for 5 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds), box breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4), or sequential breathing (inhale for 4, exhale for 4, inhale for 5, exhale for 5, inhale for 6, exhale for 6). 

The next step that I would recommend would be to take a drink of water. Humans are anywhere from 55% to 65% water and a lot of us can often fall into not hydrating well. Taking a nice long drink of water might give your body an immediate and quick boost of energy and help you recognize how much energy your body may actually have in this moment.

After getting a drink of water, you might consider a snack. A lot of times when we are low on energy it could be just being low blood sugar and not having all the nutrients that we need. Grabbing a snack can really help with this. I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think that some good mid-day snacks might be nuts or yogurt.

And the final step is movement. This can certainly be the hardest step because when we’re low on energy, we don’t want to move and it might feel like we can’t move. As mentioned earlier, this idea that we might not have the energy to move, might not be true, and only a prediction that our mind is making. But some ways to make this movement more tolerable might be to start with small movements where you are, whether that seated or lying down, and then working your way up to standing and walking around. 

Some easy movements might be shrugging your shoulders up to your ears, and then dropping them down or gentle twists of your back, kind of looking over each shoulder, or you might raise your arms up to the sky and do a full body stretch. 

With laying down, you may hug one knee into your chest and cross it over your body for a lying down twist on each side or you might hug your knees into your chest and roll a little bit on your lower back. 

And then once you’re standing, if it’s safe for you to do a forward fold like in yoga (or if you are not familiar its the stretch of reaching towards your toes but while standing), this can be a really great way to get some blood flowing to your brain. I recommend taking deep breaths while in a forward fold and again, make sure this is safe for, it is not always safe for people with vertigo or brain aneurysms or other conditions.

And then you might consider walking or pacing around the room or your living space. You might even go outside for a short walk. A lot of times, even just a five minute walk my shift your bodies predictions on how much energy you have.

Along with walking, you might consider taking your movement further like going for a run, doing yoga, doing a strength workout, lifting weights. Exercise can be a great energy boost. 

By the end of these steps, you might have a better sense of what true energy and resources your body has. Hopefully, there is enough energy to do whatever else you would like to try to do with your day.

I hope this was useful and I hope you experiment with some of these steps so that you can have the energy that you want to have. Have a great day! 

Notes :

How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett 

Something that I work on a lot with people is recognizing this need or almost compulsion to be “productive” almost all the time. What I have noticed, is that this is a trend that can lead to additional, unhelpful stress or anxiousness in our lives and it can be a common thread that is getting in the way of being able to truly feel relaxation and grounding. 

So this episode is for those of you that typically have a hard time relaxing, sitting still, or taking time for yourself. 

Here is a reflection to see if you might dealing with this background belief of needing to be productive all the time: 

Notice what it’s like for you when you take a moment to sit and not do anything related to taking care of your space, taking care of other people, or doing work or school related tasks. 

Is your body able to soften into the chair or floor or bed that is supporting it? 

Are you able to let go of the tension in your face, neck, shoulders, and other muscles? 

Are you able to feel a sense of relief, calm, relaxation? 

Or instead, are you sitting there feeling tense in your muscles and/or restless in your body? 

Is anxiety starting to heighten? Are you maybe even feeling guilt, regret, or disappointment? 

If the second batch of questions rings more true for you, you might be dealing with a certain level of pressure on yourself to “be productive” that might actually lead to short-term and long-term stress, anxiousness, and possible self-deprecation. Which in turn, can lead to less effectiveness and productivity in the long run, along with overall lower quality of life.

So, now that you’ve reflected for yourself, we’re going to break this down to increase self-compassion and understanding, increase self-awareness, and then use that to consider what direction you might want to work towards in the future. 

The first thing I encourage you to do, is provide some understanding and context about where this belief came from. There’s a reason that so many of us deal with this type of pressure. 

For one thing, if you live in the Unites States and were raised with individualistic beliefs, the ‘need to be productive’ has likely been modeled and programmed into you from the beginning of your life. 

I grew up in NY, which is the stereotypical site of a go-go-go work-work-work mentality. So I have seen a lot of examples of people being encouraged to live this way and thus, actually aspire towards this lifestyle. 

Additionally, our home life and guardians have a lot of influence on this. Maybe you witnessed people in your life working really long hours with little time to relax. Maybe you witnessed people taking care of the space or other people without giving themselves a break.

Maybe your guardians directly said to you many times, “What are you doing sitting there? You’re being lazy, get moving.” 

So take a second to reflect on what influences in your life might have started a narrative for you that you should never just be “sitting around” and/or that in order to be successful you can’t take time for yourself. 

These influences can lead to a pressure that may sound like, ‘I need to be productive’ or ‘I can’t take a break, otherwise I’m lazy.’ 

Once you are aware of the possible pressures and where they might have come from, consider what the ultimate fear is. 

Are you scared that if you stop “being productive” that means you will stop growing? Which will in turn make you a failure? 

Or are you scared that moments of not “being productive” automatically makes you a failure? 

Are you scared that if you’re not “being productive” then that will mean the world has no use for you or you have no value? 

These are the deep, sort of scary questions we usually don’t want to face. These are also the types of questions that might be best guided while in therapy. 

But if you take some time to consider what the ultimate fear is, then there are more options in how to cope with it. 

I will be assisting you in coping with this through a reframing technique, but you could also challenge yourself to sort through some of those fears. 

Is it actually true that you will stop growing the moment you aren’t “being productive”? What does growing look like to you and is that image of growing working well for you? 

Is it actually true that you aren’t contributing to our world if you take some time for yourself? 

I believe that we all have an impact and contribute to at least one other living thing in some way, and having time to ourselves is an important way to stay grounded and balanced, and thus, be able to “be productive.” 

Okay, so now I want to create a little buy-in for taking time to either slow down, pause, or find some joy or relaxation. I know that these moments can sometimes be hard to find. Usually there are already moments in your day where you can and do try to pause but you quickly bail on it because of increased anxiety from the pressure to be productive. 

There is value in pausing, taking time for relaxation, peace, joy, pleasure and even sitting with anxiousness or discomfort at first to get to that place of relaxation. 

Life is about balance and if you want to continue towards goals like finding success (whatever that means to you) or living a quality life (whatever that means to you), balancing time to “be productive” and time to care for yourself is crucial regardless of your definitions. 

I am not saying that a 50-50 balance is required and that is very unrealistic for most of us. But any moment of understanding the value of relaxation and pause, is useful. So even if you only schedule yourself 5 minutes during work or after work or whenever to fully give yourself permission to just be, you will have a better balance.

So, now I want to help with reducing that discomfort and pressure to make room for relaxation. I encourage you to define terms. 

When you imagine what being productive means and looks like, what comes to mind? What images or words pop into your head? 

Go ahead and write out a list if you’d like — things you imagine doing when you are productive, what your intentions are when you are productive, whatever else it might mean to you. 

Typically what I find, is that in the definition of being productive, it usually includes accomplishing parts of your day like taking care of your space, taking care of others, or working for a job or for school. Typically I do not hear anything about self-care items like doing things for enjoyment, pleasure, relaxation. 

Alright, for the next steps, there is kind of a choose your own adventure here, so I’m going to walk through more than one approach but feel free to follow the approach that resonates most for you. 

First adventure: keep your current definition of being productive and reframe your beliefs and intentions around how often you truly want to be productive. 

This approach tries to challenge the belief that ‘sitting around is lazy’ and the thoughts that you have to be productive all the time be “good enough” or “successful.” You can reframe this mindset to include the value of time to yourself and consider the idea that you don’t have to be productive all the time. You can take time for yourself and be successful. 

Second adventure: make adjustments to your definition of being productive to help create more flexibility in your priorities. 

In this adventure, we can actually redefine what it means to be productive so that when those feelings come up, you can recognize that you are still in fact being productive. 

For example, I define being productive as doing something that can help me get closer to my intentions and goals. And I whole-heartedly believe in the importance of having time to myself for relaxation and joy in order to get closer to my intentions and goals. That is what can help me stay grounded, feel balanced, feel grateful, and then have better overall energy to be able to work at the capacity I hope to work at. So while I’m relaxing or taking time for myself, I view it as productive because I know that it is helping towards my overall intentions to live a balanced, quality life and my goals to be able to continue to work. 

They key is giving yourself permission. So with the first adventure you can give yourself permission by recognizing that balance is imperative in order to be productive. And with the second adventure you change your definition of being productive to include pauses for yourself. Both require you to identify and consider the value of breaks, time for yourself, or pausing

Here are some ideas for pausing once you are able to give yourself permission. Finding some peace can be as brief as 30 seconds or as long as hours depending on what you have time for in your life. The most important part, is giving yourself permission so that you can truly be present with these pauses:

A few moments of deep breathing (see my video on deep breathing techniques)

Snuggling with pets

Massaging your own neck, hands, feet


Reading a fun book


Drinking water

Drinking tea or coffee

Sitting or laying outdoors

Working on a puzzle

Crocheting or knitting or crafting

Drawing or painting

Listening to music 

Playing solitaire - maybe with real cards!

One last thing that is important for me to note that is slightly off-topic, but related to the pressure of being productive is that sometimes we keep ourselves busy because we are avoiding and escaping other unpleasant emotions like grief, sadness, loneliness, or trauma-responses. 

So another question you might ask yourself is, ‘What am I avoiding?’

More often then not, it is better in the long-term to try and face the discomfort we are trying to avoid so we can support ourselves and be able to move forward. This is also best supported with a therapist, but journaling and comforting yourself through the difficult emotions can be helpful when not in session.

Here is a summary of the cognitive and behavioral tools used in today’s reflection. 

Alright, that’s all for this episode, I hope you find it helpful! 


Resources to find a therapist

Also, check out my deep breathing techniques