Saturday, August 29, 2020

Shame is the granddaddy of all uncomfortable feelings

The emotion of shame (I am bad/not good enough) is the granddaddy of all uncomfortable feelings. 

The unhelpful feeling of shame amongst the patients we see is very common, but nobody really presents to us with....

“Hi Doc. I have unhelpful feelings of shame.”

Often the presenting complaint are, “I am stressed out, burnt out, anxious, frustrated or I am angry all the time”. 

Folks with the primary emotion of shame, invariably have associated sense of disconnection leading to fear/anxiety, leading to the fight/flight/freeze responses OR distractions like emotional eating and drinking, which then create more shame/disconnection. 

First thing is to step back and see that at the primary level, and create a safe and compassionate space to talk about that in order to defuse or “zoom out” from that. Not easy because shame IS a really “yukky” feeling!

So how else can your Doctor or Mental Health Professional help you?

1. Provides you with supportive counseling and unconditional positive regard.
2. Provides compassionate reflection.
3. Helps you to cultivate self compassion.
4. Helps you to improve your emotional literacy and self awareness.
5. Helps you with psychological flexibility skills like mindfulness, acceptance, defusion and “unhooking” from thoughts associated with shame.
6. Encourage you to take more value based actions.
7. And ultimately, breaking the cycle above!

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