Aspire to Inspire is a professional counseling (mental health and addiction), consultation, and clinical supervision practice with locations in Teays Valley, WV; online (via TeleHealth); and Culloden, WV:
(304) 760-9945 email@example.com
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What is "Normal" When it Comes to Emotions?
By: Kari Mika-Lude
Q: What is "normal" when it comes to emotions? How will I know if I actually have a problem?
The dictionary defines normal as "conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected". But who determines what is standard, usual, typical, or expected? Society, I suppose... which makes "normal" a matter of opinion.
What I will say is that the human experience brings with it a variety of emotions. When you really break it down, emotions - even the ones that don't feel so great - serve a purpose. For one thing, they provide feedback about what's going on around us and help us navigate through our day-to-day lives and potentially hazardous situations. If you've ever gotten that prickly feeling on the back of your neck or that fluttering in your chest, then you've had an emotional response (fear) that told you something wasn't right (danger?) and to get the heck outta there!
Emotions also help us communicate with each other (because a whopping 70% of our communication is nonverbal, meaning our facial expressions, body language, and gestures constitute the majority of what we "say" to others). For example, when we smile at someone, we are showing approval. When we cry, we let others know that we're hurting.
So is feeling more than just happy and calm "normal"? Yes. Okay, then how do you know when it's time to seek some help? Well, that kind of depends on the impact it's having on your life. We call this "clinically significant impairment or distress". In simple terms: Whatever it is - anxiety, depression, substance use, etc. - is getting in the way at home, at work or school, in your relationships, and so on. Yes, it's "normal" for a person to feel down every once in a while or anxious about certain things. But if you are feeling like that more often than not, and it's getting in the way of doing the things you need to do, that's pretty significant, and it may be a good idea to talk to someone about it.
By: Kari Mika-Lude Oftentimes, we are our own worst enemy. We belittle and berate ourselves, blame ourselves for things we could not have foreseen or prevented, and then we wonder why we are left feeling defeated and stressed. One of the most common ways we do this to ourselves is by personalizing things that just aren’t personal. For example, let’s say you send an email to a potential employer about a job posting. You are really excited about the job opportunity and are eager to hear back. You begin checking your email every few hours, hoping to see a response in your inbox. A few days pass, and still nothing. Where does your mind go with that? More than likely, you are telling yourself that you were an idiot to think that you could ever get the job, the person reading your résumé is laughing at you, and you should just crawl into a hole and never come out. On the other hand, if it were your friend instead of you, you would probably be more rational and remind
By: Kari Mika-Lude A good therapist is always working himself or herself out of a job. In other words, the most basic goal of therapy is to no longer need therapy. However, the therapist can only do so much. The therapist’s role is not to solve problems or make things better. Unfortunately, therapists are not magicians or wizards, and there is no magic wand. Consider physical therapy for a moment. In physical therapy, there is a therapist. The role of the physical therapist is to facilitate the healing process through the use of exercises, education, and so on. Ultimately, the work itself falls on the patient; if the patient does not do her part, then healing will not take place. Physical therapy can be a long and painful process, but that pain is accepted as a means to an end. The therapist’s job is similar to that of a coach, offering guidance, support, and encouragement throughout the process, but if the therapist does not push the patient to stand on