Moment 131 Why You Need To Start Embracing ALL Your Emotions Dr. Julie Smith

Summary Notes


In a candid discussion about emotional management, Speaker A reflects on societal pressures to either suppress or overindulge in emotions, while recognizing personal tendencies to inadvertently manifest stress through physical symptoms and behaviors. Speaker B, a mental health professional, emphasizes the importance of approaching emotions with curiosity rather than judgment and advocates for a gradual, supportive unveiling of feelings, particularly in therapy. They highlight the deceptive nature of quick fixes like binge-watching or eating, which provide immediate relief but lead to long-term detrimental cycles. The conversation also touches on the changing landscape of male engagement with mental health, the power of word-of-mouth in therapy success, and the universal need for human connection or self-reflection as initial steps to address unresolved issues.

Summary Notes

Role of Society in Managing Emotions

  • Society influences how individuals handle emotions, offering contrasting approaches.
  • One common societal message is to shrug off emotions and keep moving forward.
  • This approach may lead to compartmentalization of emotions, potentially causing subconscious erosion of mental health.
  • The alternative societal advice is to fully embrace and experience emotions.
  • Embracing emotions too deeply could be overwhelming and incapacitating.

"Um, society has a role to play in telling us how to manage the emotions we feel when we go through life."

This quote highlights the influence of societal norms and expectations on emotional management.

"Which doesn't seem to be possible with, like, deep emotions. Actually seems to be that you're just compartmentalizing it in the back room, and it's going to erode your brain from subconsciously."

This quote suggests that ignoring deep emotions may lead to negative mental health outcomes by causing subconscious stress or damage.

"But that feels like it can be a bit too consuming that I might not get out of bed in the morning if I really sit and wallow in my emotions."

This quote illustrates the concern that fully embracing emotions could lead to an inability to function in daily life.

The Complexity of Emotional Work in Therapy

  • Emotional work in therapy is complex and must be approached with caution.
  • Some individuals have unsafe coping strategies linked to their emotions.
  • Therapists do not recommend fully opening up to emotions without preparation.
  • The process includes equipping clients with tools to handle emotions safely.
  • Trauma therapy involves revisiting traumatic events but only after clients are prepared to manage the resulting emotions.
  • Opening up to emotions should be gradual and supported to prevent overwhelm.
  • Many people are unaware of their emotional blocking mechanisms.

"Yeah, and actually, it's quite sort of complex work."

This quote underscores the intricate nature of working with emotions, especially in a therapeutic setting.

"And so we'll never kind of advise people to just open the floodgates and allow everything in."

This quote conveys the caution exercised by therapists in dealing with clients' emotions, emphasizing the need for control and preparation.

"So for anyone who feels like they, for example, kind of shut down emotionally and sort of block it out, you want to open up gradually to things and open up gradually to emotions that feel maybe less dangerous or less sort of overwhelming in small ways, in supported ways as well, so that, you know, you can manage it and it's not going to completely be overbearing."

This quote advises a measured and supported approach to confronting emotions, especially for those who tend to shut down or block out their feelings.

"But I guess on a kind of day to day level, lots of people don't even recognize that they're blocking."

This quote points out the common lack of self-awareness regarding emotional blocking behaviors in daily life.

Behavioral Responses to Stress and Emotion

  • People often engage in behaviors like intense focus on tasks, gaming, or smoking as a response to stress or emotion.
  • These behaviors serve a function, often providing a sense of safety or comfort.
  • The key is to approach these behaviors with curiosity rather than judgment to understand their purpose.
  • The brain's ability to quickly intervene and alleviate discomfort is a common human trait.

"And so often it's hidden in the behavior. People will say, yeah, I'm fine with emotion, but I smoke 50 a day. And it's a kind of, what's the function of this and that and the other."

This quote highlights that people may not be aware of the true reasons behind their behaviors, such as smoking excessively, which could be a coping mechanism for underlying emotional stress.

"It's really key that there's no judgment there, because it's something that we all do. It's human."

The speaker emphasizes the importance of not judging oneself for these behaviors, as they are a common human response to stress and discomfort.

Physical Manifestations of Stress

  • High-stress situations can lead to physical symptoms like illness or skin problems, which may surface after the stress has seemingly been managed.
  • The body can keep the score of stress, revealing the impact of emotional experiences even when the conscious mind denies it.
  • Changes in habits, such as eating patterns, can be indicators of stress being internally processed.

"But my body, as the famous book goes, held the score. My body would tell me, even if my conscious mind wouldn't admit it, my body would tell me."

This quote refers to the concept that the body can manifest signs of stress and emotion that the mind is not consciously acknowledging, indicating a disconnect between mental and physical awareness.

Self-Perception and Leadership

  • Leaders may feel pressure to appear invincible and resilient, affecting how they cope with stress.
  • There is a realization that even those who are perceived as strong can have vulnerabilities that manifest in their behavior.
  • It's important for leaders to recognize their own coping mechanisms and understand that they are not immune to stress.

"I always thought I was invincible. I always thought I was some tough guy. And I think people followed me. Well, I hope not, but I think they saw me as that, as being this kind of, like, mentally perfect, resilient character."

In this quote, the speaker reflects on their past self-perception as a strong and resilient leader and acknowledges that this image may have influenced how others perceived them, despite their own stress-related behaviors.

Coping Mechanisms and Behavioral Shifts

  • Individuals who frequently use coping mechanisms may find it challenging to recognize shifts in their behavior.
  • Changes in behavior can be indicators of unaddressed issues affecting one's mental state.
  • Physical manifestations, such as skin breakouts, can be signs of psychological stress.

"I remember going through a pattern where I was just eating crap again. And I thought, why am I doing oh, shit? Yeah, because of that thing you've not addressed that's playing on your mind every time you wake up."

This quote highlights the speaker's realization that their unhealthy eating habits were a response to an unresolved issue, demonstrating how behavior can signal deeper problems.

Men and Emotional Expression

  • Men are often considered poor at discussing their feelings due to societal stigmas.
  • Despite this generalization, some male followers are highly engaged and actively participate in discussions about mental health.

"Men are the worst at this. I mean, so they say they're the worst at talking about how they feel because of the stigmas and stuff."

The speaker is referring to the common perception that men struggle with expressing their emotions, attributing it to societal expectations and stigmas.

The Role of Social Media in Mental Health

  • Social media has facilitated conversations about mental health that might not occur in person.
  • The anonymity and reach of social media platforms can encourage more open discussions about sensitive topics.

"It's enabled people to start having a conversation that they wouldn't dream of having face to face with people."

The quote suggests that social media has provided a space for individuals to discuss mental health issues more freely than they might in face-to-face interactions.

Therapy and Word of Mouth

  • Private therapy practices can thrive on word of mouth rather than traditional advertising.
  • Successful therapy experiences can lead individuals to recommend therapy to others facing similar challenges.
  • Sharing personal success stories with therapy can help reduce stigma and encourage others to seek help.

"And so actually all of my work was based on word of mouth."

This quote indicates that the speaker's therapy practice grew through clients recommending their services to others, highlighting the importance of personal endorsements in the mental health field.

Stigma Reduction and Sharing Experiences

  • People who have overcome struggles are often willing to share the tools and methods that helped them.
  • As individuals share their success stories, it contributes to a cultural shift in how mental health issues are perceived and discussed.
  • Personal recommendations can be a powerful way to combat stigma and support others in seeking help.

"And I think that's a bit of the shift of that stigma that people are going, oh yeah, I went through that, or something similar, go and try that,"

The speaker observes that as people talk openly about their experiences with mental health challenges and recovery, it helps to change the conversation and reduce stigma surrounding these issues.

Addressing Unresolved Issues

  • Unresolved personal issues can lead to behavioral symptoms and self-harm.
  • Compartmentalizing without addressing these issues can have negative consequences.
  • Speaker A encourages individuals to bring these issues to the forefront for resolution.

"And if people are sat at home and there's something that they know they haven't addressed, that's playing on their mind that they're thinking about a lot often, and trying to just kind of compartmentalize and not address, what would you say to those people because they might be seeing the behavioral symptoms of not addressing that thing?"

This quote highlights the problem of unaddressed issues causing mental preoccupation and potential behavioral symptoms.

Seeking Help and Self-Reflection

  • Therapy is a resource for some, but not accessible to all.
  • The importance of human connection and finding someone trustworthy to talk to is emphasized.
  • Writing down thoughts or using art is suggested as a form of self-therapy.
  • Reflecting on experiences without judgment to understand the causes and effects of one's feelings.

"Well, I guess some people will go to therapy because they'll have access to that. Others won't even consider it or have access to it for whatever reason, and I think whatever the situation, human contact and human connection is everything."

Speaker B acknowledges the varying accessibility of therapy and underscores the significance of human connection in addressing personal issues.

Understanding Behavioral Patterns

  • Analyzing what leads up to and follows from negative feelings is part of therapy.
  • Identifying vulnerabilities and behavioral responses helps in understanding one's patterns.
  • Immediate relief strategies can be addictive and counterproductive in the long term.
  • Long-term solutions often require enduring discomfort and developing coping skills.

"That's a lot of what happens in therapy, actually, is people will come in with a feeling, oh, felt this awful thing, and then we'll look at, okay, what led up to that. Let's go back a week and let's work to it. What made you vulnerable to that? And then equally, what came after? What did you do? Did it make things worse? Did it help?"

This quote describes the therapeutic process of dissecting the timeline and context of emotional experiences to understand behavioral patterns.

The Cycle of Instant Relief and Long-Term Stagnation

  • Instant relief behaviors are addictive because they provide quick results.
  • These behaviors can create a cycle of dependency that worsens with time.
  • The cycle perpetuates the need for safety or blocking behaviors.
  • Long-term healing requires facing difficult emotions and using coping skills.

"A lot of those things that we end up doing habitually are the things that work instantly, and they're addictive because they work instantly, right. It's going to the fridge or grabbing the wine or whatever it is, that they're addictive because they give us instant relief, but in the long term, they keep us stuck."

Speaker B explains how certain behaviors offer immediate comfort but ultimately lead to a cycle of dependency and prevent long-term healing.

Coping with Emotional Challenges

  • Immediate solutions are contrasted with the harder, more effective long-term strategies.
  • The concept of "sitting with" emotions and working through them is presented as a healthier alternative.
  • Skills to manage emotions in the moment are crucial for long-term well-being.

"And actually, the things that tend to work in the long term are hardest in the moment, like sitting with it and feeling it and using skills to get yourself through it."

The quote emphasizes the difficulty but necessity of confronting emotions directly and developing coping mechanisms for sustainable mental health.

What others are sharing

Go To Library

Want to Deciphr in private?
- It's completely free

Deciphr Now
Footer background
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon
Crossed lines icon

© 2024 Deciphr

Terms and ConditionsPrivacy Policy