Sunday, May 30, 2021

Helping our patients to create space or distance with their minds

When we have excessive stress in our lives, we naturally have less distance or space with our minds. By that, we mean we have less distance between our observing minds and our thinking/feeling minds. We simply want to react quickly with the fight/flight/freeze response to get out of danger, rather than “holding space” for our thoughts and feelings. 

The problem is, these days, so many things can be perceived as “excessive danger” by our minds. Running late in a consult. Someone gives us a 1 or 2 star on Google review. A disagreement on Facebook.

So what can we do to make it better for us and our patients?

1. Learn to hold space for our uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, AND the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings of others. Practice mindfulness and meditation perhaps. These are simply exercises to hold space or distance for our thinking and feeling minds.

2. Learn to anchor with our body sense like breath, and with our 5senses while noticing, acknowledging, and “surfing” the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Don’t fall into the trap of suppressing or running away from them. We can’t. Not long term anyway.

3. Cultivate more healthy 5senses experiences to get into the “here and now”, like exercising, gardening, arts/craft, or simply have a mindful warm shower. This aims to balance our tendency to live in our inner thoughts and feelings.

4. Have a “go to person” to help us anchor when we are unable to hold space for uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. This may be a trusted friend, family member, colleague, Doctor, or Therapist.

Once we can hold space for uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, we can process them, prioritize them for another day, or place them in our spam box.

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