Pandora’s Box

We all enjoy experiencing positive emotions and actively seek them out.  We go out for a good time, plan activities to have fun, gather with family for closeness, and many people when asked their goal in life will say, “I just want to be happy.” But other emotions are felt as bad experiences and we often go to great lengths to avoid them – feelings of anger, disappointment or fear. Sometimes we are taught that certain emotions are somehow “bad” and we shouldn’t experience them.  We believe that “big boys don’t cry” or “nice girls don’t get angry”.  Nonsense!  Big boys and nice girls are normal people too, and to experience the whole range of emotions is perfectly normal.  When we seek to suppress certain emotions we only run into trouble. [Read more…]

Working Through Grief

We spend much of our lives working towards having great relationships, a good job, a comfortable home, nice possessions, and all those things that make life rich and meaningful.  But what happens when we suddenly lose one of them?  Grief is as natural to every person as breathing.  It is inevitable.

Loss comes in many forms.  It might be the death of someone you love, a best friend moving away, losing your job, having your car written off, your marriage breaking down, losing your house, or even realising that something you were looking forward to just isn’t going to happen.  Everyone feels their loss in a different way, and if you don’t react in the same way as someone else it does not mean that there is something wrong with you (or with them).  Some losses are experienced as deep despair, others as a tragedy, and some strike us with feelings of panic.  However, many people tend to follow a general pattern after a loss and work through a range of emotions. [Read more….]

Emotional Reactions

Just who is responsible for our emotional reactions?   “He made me upset.”  “She made me cry.”  “They all make me so very angry.”  We often directly attribute our distress to the actions of someone else, or to external circumstances, such as the decisions of politicians, society in general, or even the weather. In our minds it is a direct cause and effect – their actions or these events caused my emotions. However, in reality there is actually another step in between. Let’s look at the following scenario (which by the way is totally hypothetical and definitely not recommended). [Read more…]