The Counselor's Bookshelf:
The Counselor's Bookshelf:
I recently came across a collection of letters to The Atlantic in which people shared their experiences with anxiety. Readers were prompted to write after the magazine published an article by Scott Stossel, author of the 2013 book My Age of Anxiety: Fear, hope, dread, and the search for peace of mind. I read this book a few years ago and found it to be exceptionally good. It reads like an encyclopedia entry/memoir hybrid. He artfully melds research, history, and anecdotal musings from famous people with his own challenging and inspiring personal story. I'll do a blog post on this book soon- it's one I recommend.
In the meantime, I'm sharing this collection of letters to The Atlantic because they are a beautiful expression of the ways we experience anxiety in our lives. Anxiety is a tenacious, idiosyncratic, sometimes agonizing, other times energizing, and often downright baffling malady. It affects each of us in different ways and the stories that come out of our experiences are diverse. I hope this will help you feel less alone in your own struggles. Check it out HERE.
I just finished reading Option B: Facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy, by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. The book tells the story of the sudden death of Dave Goldberg, Sheryl's husband, and her family's process of rebuilding their lives after. It strikes a nice balance between personal narrative and how-to manual for overcoming hardship and building resilience. Adam Grant's contribution, as a psychologist and educator, rounds out the story by providing research and relevant advice for moving through a period of pain and struggle and reclaiming joy.
One of the tools they talk about is the Three P's. The following excerpt explains how this tool can be useful in getting out of the stuck places our mind takes us in stressful circumstances:
We plant the seeds of resilience in the ways we process negative events. After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that three P's can stunt recovery:
One of the tools we teach at the outpatient mental health treatment program where I work is G.L.A.D. Here's how it works: When you're feeling sad, depressed, in a rut, discouraged, or find yourself the guest of honor at tonight's Pity Party, give this tool a try.
Come up with at least one example of:
G- Something you're grateful for
L- Something you learned today
A- Something you accomplished today
D- Something that brings you delight
I like this technique because it goes beyond the simple gratitude list, which I can easily scoff at when I'm feeling down. It forces me to reframe my day into experiences and accomplishments that I can take responsibility for (Yes, I DID accomplish something today). It also forces me to move out of focusing on the negative and into a frame of mind where delight is possible.
Here's my GLAD list for today:
Tattoos on the Heart is one of my favorite books of all time. The authenticity, clarity, humility and compassion that Father Boyle brings to his work with Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention program in Los Angeles, is deeply moving and inspiring. I cried and laughed equal amounts as stories of loss, hardship, courage and profound transformation flowed seamlessly from one to the next.
Here's an excerpt:
I'm working at my desk one day, eyes pouring over something. You know how you can feel when two eyeballs are staring at you. I look up and it's Danny. He's a short, chubby ten-year-old who lives in the projects and is one of the fixtures around the office...
Lately, as I have felt pummeled by the rapid fire news coming from all corners of the Earth, a sense of sadness and powerlessness arises in the face of the enormity of the problems we face. It is at moments like these that I am finding myself, more and more, soothed and supported by the words and images of poets, artists, philosophers and otherwise authentic, engaged and deeply feeling human beings who grapple with these issues. Their ability to find peace, love and possibility woven into challenge reassures my worried heart. John Donohue was one of these people. Here are some excerpts from one of his last interviews ever, with Krista Tippett of On Being:
I mean I think that — and it’s the question of beauty, I mean you’re asking, essentially — as we are speaking, that there are individuals holding out on frontlines, holding the humane tissue alive in areas of ultimate barbarity, where things are visible that the human eye should never see. And they’re able to sustain it, because there is, in them, some kind of sense of beauty that knows the horizon that we are really called to in some way...
Hello and thanks for joining me. I will be sharing the books, podcasts, and other resources I am finding valuable in my own life, and in my work with clients. I hope you find this collection of resources inspiring and enriching- and that it prompts you to engage in your own search for the words and voices that resonate with you as you travel through your days.
The Counselor's Bookshelf:
Sharing the books, articles, podcasts, and other resources I'm drawing from personally, and in my work as a counselor.