How to Bounce Back from Emotional Pain

I was sitting in a rustic camping lodge on an island in Washington State with a crackling fire in front of me. The smell of pine and earth and wood smoke delighted my senses with each inhale. Around me, people were chatting intently and occasional spurts of laughter erupted in the great hall.

I didn’t want to be there.


Need to Bounce Back? Get Rid of These 5 Things

In my lengthy career in mental health, I’ve noticed that there are several key stumbling blocks that keep many people from bouncing back when adversity hits.

If you can get rid of these things, life will open up for you and become less of a struggle.

1. Thinking that you’ll get to a point where life doesn’t change.

Admit it. If you’re like most of us, you secretly think that some day when you have everything figured out and every material thing you need, then you won’t have to deal with change any longer.

Well, as my friend’s grandmother said when she reached the age of 99,
I always thought things would calm down and get easier. I’m beginning to believe that’s not going to happen. ~ Phoebe Howard, age 99


10 Things to Tell Yourself When Life Knocks You Down

1. I’ve been through this (or worse) before.
Remember that this is not the first time you’ve faced heartbreak, grief, emotional distress, or any other kind of calamity. You made it through then and you will now even if you think this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. Great resource: Joan Borysenko’s It’s Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of...


Are You Missing a Piece of Your Happiness?

Sometimes I don’t feel very good about myself.

In fact, I get depressed.

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.


5 Tips on Bouncing Back in Life From My 99-Year-Old Grandmother

Last year while visiting my ninety-eight-year-old grandmother, I knelt down next to her chair and looked her in the eyes.

*Not my actual grandmother ;-)

“Grandma,” I said with mock seriousness, “I think you’re finally getting old.”

She laughed. “Well, yes, I think I finally am!”

In some ways, I wasn’t kidding.

My grandmother has always been active and fit, gleefully turning a somersault for her five-year-old great-grandson when she was seventy-five. Taking...


The First Holidays After Your Loved One Has Died – An Open Letter to Grievers

Dear Griever,

You made it through Christmas.

I bet you didn’t think you would, did you?

I know it was hard.

I know that every colored light, every piece of tinsel, every canned Christmas carol piped through department store speakers, and every well-meaning person wishing you a merry Christmas made you want to scream, “It doesn’t matter! Don’t you see that none of this matters? How can it without my loved one here?”

I know how much...