for a strong, fast pick-me-up
In part 1 Brisbane psychologist Kerry Deller (The Conscious Psychologist) and I shared about how it’s normal this time of year for people to feel frustrated and even experience an early March or February ‘funk’. The ‘chat’ started in February – but it’s applicable to early March too.
In part 2, I ask Kerry more specific questions about what we can do to shake that March/February funk:
I find Kerry to be a very wise and articulate ‘cool-aborator’.
I use my journalism skills and presentation skills experience to help her simplify her abundant knowledge and use video and social media.
Kerry’s knowledge helps me with my corporate communications work (and personal curiosity) – AND I learn a lot from the way she uses words and metaphors to get her messages across.
I hope you benefit from our ‘chats’ about different topics.
T: In part 1 you spoke about how it’s important to ‘sit with your pain’ and to ‘listen to what your pain has to tell you’. Can you give us more detail about questions to ask to find out ‘what your pain has to tell you’? I get then overall idea – but I like to get more specific tips on how to overcome/address this ‘pain process’ faster and more effective.
K: The ultimate question you want to ask your pain is: For what purpose do you (the pain) exist?
What is it you want me to know?
This helps you look your pain in the eye
This tells your pain – I’ll give you the time of day and I’ll listen to you. What have you got to tell me?
Usually, February/early March frustration relates to some stress in your life.
Stress has 3 parts to it – demands, resources, and responsibility.
Stress is the perception that something is demanded of us and that we don’t have the resources to deal with it – and we deem it to be our responsibility.
Often, February/early March stress is due to financial pressure of people finally having to pay bills for money they overspent over Christmas and the vacation period. In February/early March people feel ‘broke’ and ‘broken’.
If we ‘break it down’, many people have over-spent because they thought it was their responsibility to buy things to be a good aunty, or a good parent, or whatever your role was. We had these demands we thought were our responsibility and now with bills to pay, we fear we don’t have the resources.
The pain process is to say to pain: ‘There you are – I found you! You’re out in the open.”
It’s important to understand that this ‘February pain’ is a common experience as 90 percent of the time we are trying to please someone else. We hope that when we please others – we please ourselves or make us feel good about ourselves.
T: Wow! I picked up on the words ‘broke’ and ‘broken’. Where does that term ‘broke’ come from to describe not having money?
K: “Broke” and “bust” come out of the gambling scene. If you’re broke or bust you are ‘out’ – you can’t play anymore. Out of resources and out of the game. It’s like ‘I’ve broken or busted the capacity to keep playing.’
Being broke or bust can actually be a positive thing where we admit we no longer have the capacity to play or engage in a pattern of behaviour – for example, ‘I no longer have the capacity to engage in competitive behaviour with myself to prove my worth to you. I’m out.’
That can be very confronting – but it can also be very relieving.
To draw a comparison on how it can be relieving – it’s like when you get really sick with the flu and you’ve got so much work you need to do – but you are sick, you haven’t got a voice. You can’t even get up. That can be a relief – when you say to yourself (and others) – sorry, I am unavailable. I can’t do it. I’m out of action.
The research shows people who admit they can’t do it and go home and go to bed and turn their phones off and give themselves a day or two to rest are back at work and functioning much quicker than people who feel guilty and try to work when they are sick and who don’t admit they need to rest.
So, to get back to confronting your pain – it can be a big relief to pay attention to our pain and admit the limits of our capacity. Admit we are not perfect. Admit we are ‘broken’.
We can choose to pay attention – rather than pay with pain.
Pain has one reason – and that’s to cause us to pay attention. Don’t ignore the pain.
Pain is the convincer.
T: Can people confront their own pain best by themselves – or does it help to have professional help?
K: Here’s how I answer that. Imagine you are a surgeon and you need to have your appendix removed. You can remove an appendix – but can you remove your own?
So, some things are better done by someone else. You can’t be ‘out there’ and ‘in there’ at the same time.
T: In part 1 you mentioned ‘breathing into your pain”. Can you tell us more about how breathing can help us ‘get into our pain”?
K: Breathing is the way the body gets the brain’s attention. Our breath is our way of connecting.
If you are breathing shallowly you are not connected properly to your body. When you take a proper, deeper breath it’s connecting into yourself.
When you breathe shallowly you are just ‘in your head’. So take a breath – connect.
T: I guess that helps you slow down too – to connect. Like ‘to take break’ from what we are doing if sometimes called ‘take a breather”.
K: and there’s also a strong correlation between your breath rate and your heart rate. The deeper and slower you breathe – the more you can slow your heart rate.
People can choose to take more time to breathe deeper – but they seem addicted to the busy adrenalin rush of rushing. It feels ‘heady’ – literally in our heads, not in our bodies.
T: To get in contact with our pain – do we need to be alone and in silence
K: You don’t have to be alone or in silence. It’s about where your focus is.
You can create that connection with yourself in a moment – anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t matter what’s going on. If you’re busy – you can acknowledge the pain, accept it and ‘make an appointment’ to sit and be with that pain later. The first step is to become aware – then allow yourself to feel that pain.
I just encourage people to build resilience and dare to face their pain. Now we’ve spoken about that special pain the February brings – usually due to financial pressures with debts becoming due. Every month of the year has its own challenges.
T: I can see further topics for when cold and flu season hits – and even the ides of March. I’m keen to find out more about the special challenges of March! Let’s chat some more on the different challenges different times of year bring.
K: Sure! It’s always good to know you are NOT alone in experiencing certain feelings or facing certain challenges – and to know there are certain things you can do to help ease a situation.
Here’s a link to the set-up in Part 1: