Acceptance Articles

5 Ways to Bounce Back from Everyday Stress

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

stressed womanStress.

It happens to most of us every day. And most everyday stressors are things that we can handle fairly easily if we just remember a few simple strategies:

1. Engage your vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve is a cranial nerve that wanders throughout the body. Stimulation of the vagus nerve tends to slow your heart rate and create a calming response.

The easiest way to engage the vagus?

Take a deep breath.

Both moving your diaphragm and the exhalation part of the breath will put your vagus nerve in gear and help reduce your body’s stress response.

2. Release your death grip on things you can’t control.

When you find yourself stuck in traffic and late for an appointment, how do you react? Does your grip tighten on the steering wheel? Do you start talking to the traffic, cursing its slowness and bemoaning your fate?

Let’s get something straight: You can’t control the traffic.

All of your moaning, cursing, grip-tightening, pulse-elevating behavior is not going to get that traffic to move.

So why curl yourself into a stress ball over it?

Since there’s nothing you can do about it, just relax. Being uptight isn’t going to get you to your appointment any faster and it’s likely only doing damage to your body rather than helping you in any way.

It’s hard to release control, but there is a large percentage of our stress that is directly related to trying to control things that we will never have any control over whether it’s traffic, weather, your company’s promotions policy, or someone else’s behavior.

It’s okay to take action when and where it is needed and you can actually have some influence, but learn to be okay with not controlling the things that are out of your control.

3. Remember that it usually works out okay.

So you’re late for your appointment and stuck in traffic. You’ve tied yourself in knots fretting about being late.

There. Has that helped anything?

Let me ask you this: How many times in the past have you been late for an appointment?

And, when you were late for past appointments, did …

How to Survive Emotional Quicksand

Monday, July 8th, 2013

You’ve probably watched the typical hero-in-quicksand scene in an action movie. The hero (or maybe an expendable extra!) runs through the jungle and suddenly is knee-deep in soft, shifting sand and sinking quickly.quicksand

The harder he struggles, the faster he sinks.

What to do? The solution is much easier than our hero thinks.

Falling Apart? 4 Ways to Get Yourself Back Together

Monday, March 11th, 2013

There are times in life that shake you to your core. Your world is changed so much that you don’t recognize it or yourself anymore and doubts start to creep in that you’re ever going to recover.learning to let go

That happened to me eight years ago when

Are You Missing a Piece of Your Happiness?

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Sometimes I don’t feel very good about myself.

In fact, I get depressed.woman scratching

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit since I am a therapist, you know.

But it’s true.

Like many people – maybe you included – I’ve had a lifelong struggle with the inner critic that takes up space in my head and a lot of my emotional energy.

Of course, since it’s been a lifelong struggle, I’ve also been on a lifelong quest to find some answer to feel better about myself. Let me tell you just a little bit of my story.

I want you to think carefully as we go through the story and see if any of these steps describes where you are now.

Warning: Your Mind Has a Trap Set for You

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

The mind is a tricky thing.

And, despite good intentions, yours might be laying a trap for you.

3 Quotes for the Broken Hearted – Bouncing Back from Heartbreak

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Broken hearts. We’ve all had them, or will at some time. I hope these quotes for the broken-hearted will help you bounce back from heartbreak in the most healing way possible.

quotes for the broken hearted

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay

Remember that bouncing back from heartache is very much like bouncing back from other pain in our lives – you have to accept the loss in your life.

But remember this too: accepting something does not mean you have to like it.

One of the things I like about this quote for the broken-hearted from Edna St. Vincent Millay is that she has accepted the pain that accompanies heart break: I miss you like hell.

She is not using flowery, romantic language about the loss. She accepts it, but calls it like it is – a hole that she falls into every night, a hellish pain.

5 Ways to Battle Burnout

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Burn-out \ˈbərn-ˌau̇t\ : exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.

Feeling exhausted? Numb? Helpless? It may not just be from the end of a long school year or stress on the job, you might actually be suffering from a case of burnout.

3 dimensions of burnout

Most of the research on burnout has been in the domain of work, but burnout can occur in just about any area of our lives. The leading researcher in the field, Berkeley professor Christina Maslach, has defined three dimensions of burnout:

Depressed? Try This One Simple Tip

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Depression is insidious.

You feel sad, you lose your concentration, nothing is interesting to you anymore, and – to top it all off – your thoughts become stuck in an endless loop of self-criticism.

There are many ways to address depression. Researchers interested in decreasing depression and increasing resilience have found that using a number of intentional activities creates positive emotions and helps reduce feelings of depression.

The first step, though, is to work toward letting go of the critical rumination going on in your head. Why? Because it is very difficult to even consider pursuing intentional activities with thoughts such as:

“It won’t help.”

“Why even bother?”

“I’ll just screw it up.”

These thoughts make your mood bleaker and keep you on the sofa rather than feeling up for trying a new activity or intervention.

So, what to do?

Bounce Back by Using These 3 Simple Ideas

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

You know that chirping little critic you hear inside your head sometimes? Most of us have one. It’s that voice that says,

“You’ll never be good enough.”

“Why even try? You know you can’t do it.”

“You’re such a hypocrite (loser, slob, dimwit, etc.)”

This voice – this inner critic – is often the main obstacle we face when trying to bounce back in life.

But that inner critic loses its audience and it’s power when we do something that most of us aren’t very good at: showing ourselves compassion.

3 Ways to Love Thyself as Thy Neighbor

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Did you catch that switcheroo in the title of this post? Usually, it’s “love thy neighbor as thyself.”

But in our society, we tend to reverse that. We find it easier to be compassionate toward others than toward ourselves.

Being nice to others is a good thing, right? Yes, but it begs the question: Why can’t we be nicer to ourselves?

That Inner Critic

You know that chirping little critic you hear inside your head sometimes? Most of us have one. It’s that voice that says,

“You’ll never be good enough.”

“Why even try? You know you can’t do it.”

“You’re such a hypocrite (loser, slob, dimwit, etc.)”

Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion and a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, says this voice probably developed as a means to keep us safe, a basic need that we all have.

Also, she posits that we may think we need this voice to keep us motivated. After all, wouldn’t we just be completely out of control if we didn’t talk to ourselves this way?

You know the answer to that. We don’t need that inner critic to keep us in line.


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  • anon: I’ve been trying to do this for ages…sometimes I find it really difficult to let it go, though,...
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