Categories
Podcasts

The Self-Care Pyramid: The Components Most People Miss

Self-care is more than bubble baths and manicures, but unfortunately, most self-care content we see out there is missing important components. Arguably, they’re missing THE MOST IMPORTANT components.  

Today on the podcast, we’re diving into something we call The Self-Care Pyramid. Specifically, it’s the 3 key levels of self-care that you really need to have in order to support yourself as the asset that you are. Sadly, most self-care content only addresses one of these levels, and it’s typically the least important one.  

During this episode, we dive into: 

  • The 3 key levels of self-care and the distinct role each plays in supporting you at your best 
  • The role that life design plays in creating your unique self-care routine.  
  • The impact of basic necessities like sleep…and what happens when we don’t meet our basic needs (here is a link to the book Why We Sleep
  • Tips for creating a self-care routine. (Here is a link to The Self Journal, April’s go-to self-care tool) 
  • If you’re serious about creating a self-care routine that works for you, check out our popular mini-course Self-care [by Design].

If there’s one thing we want you to take away it is this: You are such an asset to the people around you, and as an asset, you need to be protected. Self-care is one of the protective mechanisms you need to have around you to make sure you can show up and perform at the level you want to. Take care of yourself. 

INTRODUCING ASCEND! 

During this episode, we announced the beta release of our signature psych strength building program, Ascend. We couldn’t be more excited to send this baby out into the world! 

As a beta program, we’re releasing it at the lowest price it will ever be. If you’ve ever considered doing something for yourself. To build your own psychological strength and resilience. To dive deep into understanding yourself. To design your life around YOU. This program is for you. 

Learn more at www.peakmindpsychology.com/ascend 

Categories
Blogs

Making Sense of the Senseless

How can we make sense out of tragedy, trauma, and loss? How do we move forward in the face of unthinkable events?

Coping with tragedy, trauma, and loss

It’s Memorial Day in the U.S., which is celebrated with 3 day weekends, BBQs, and the opening of swimming pools. The true meaning of the holiday, however, is much more somber. It’s a day dedicated to remembering those who died during military service, for honoring their sacrifice and that of their loved ones. For me, personally, it marks the anniversary of my brother’s unexpected death 11 years ago. This year, in the wake of events centering on violence in schools and in my neighborhood, it feels particularly heavy, weighted by the unnecessary loss of life and those who must carry on with broken hearts. 

I intended to write this week about supporting someone with mental health issues to close out Mental Health Awareness month. That’s a worthwhile topic, and one the Peak Mind community asked for. I just can’t bring myself to do it, though, given everything else. 

Instead, I find myself thinking about how we make sense out of tragedy, trauma, and loss. How do we move forward in the face of unthinkable events?

I don’t have the answers for addressing the systemic issues that lead to such horrific tragedies as war and school shootings. I don’t even have all of the answers for how to cope with the fallout of these events or the loss of a loved one or the myriad other bad things that can leave scars on our lives. I do, however, have a knowledge base that sheds some insights, and I’m willing to share some of my own experiences on the off-chance that it helps someone find hope in the darkness. 

Understanding what causes tragedy and trauma

It’s human nature to want the world to make sense. We like nice, neat explanations for events, and we want our cause-and-effect to be linear and straight forward. We like to think that good things happen to good people and that people who do bad things are evil. We like to think that it won’t happen to us and that there is always a clear, easy to understand reason why things happen.

We like to think the world is just and logical. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

When things happen that violate our idea of how the world works, our foundation gets shaken. We desperately need things to make sense again.  

In the aftermath of tragedy, our minds look for an explanation. They want to assign blame. If we can finger point to something that is clearly at fault, better yet if that some one or some thing is evil or greedy or broken or flawed, it restores our sense of balance. It rights the topsy turviness that happened in our worlds. 

The issue is that it may not be that simple. 

The assumptions we make about who is to blame may be faulty or myopic. They may not take into account all of the possible contributing factors. As tempting as it might be to put all of the blame on one person (or group) or one factor, my experience is that it’s rarely that simple. 

We need to understand what happened in a way that allows us to move forward. That likely means that we must expand our thinking and question our assumptions. We must side-step faulty logic that leads to inaccurate or unhelpful conclusions. We must be intentional about meaning making because the story we tell ourselves about what happened, why it happened, and what it means about us, others, and the future will greatly shape our path.  

It’s not black or white

There is a kind of therapy called DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that is based on the concept of dialectics, which are two opposing things that are both true.

Dialectics are hard for our minds to navigate because they seem contradictory. Logic holds that if one is true then the other is not. Yet, they both are. The challenge is to simultaneously hold these contradictions and seek the broader truth, the one in which they both exist. We must resist the urge to throw one out in the interest of simplicity. We must resist the EITHER OR and embrace the BOTH AND mentality instead. 

Today, I am embracing the dialectics. I find myself torn between seeing the world as utterly f*ed and seeing the incredible opportunities ahead, between being angered, disgusted, and devastated by the realities that our world is terrible and simultaneously awed and grateful for the wonder of that same reality.

Bad things happen to good people AND there is justice.

People are suffering AND there is beauty in the world.

We are on opposing sides AND we can collaborate.

I will never be the same AND I will find a way to have joy again.

Feel your feelings

It’s normal to feel a range of emotions following a foundation-shaking experience. We may feel sad, angry, guilty, anxious, confused, disgusted, and/or dozens of other ways. We may feel like we are going to be crushed by our pain or feel a strong urge to numb. As difficult as it may be, we must feel our feelings but not wallow in them. We must make space for them but not be buried by them. We will not be able to heal otherwise.

I remember walking in the hospital parking lot with my dad while my brother was on life support. “Do you want a xanax?” he asked me. “No,” I told him. “This is supposed to hurt.” 

I’m not a masochist, but I am a psychologist. I had spent years at that point teaching people how important it is to experience rather than avoid even the most difficult, painful emotions. I am not judging my father for needing a xanax in that moment. I have no idea the magnitude of a parent’s pain in the face of losing a child. I’m not a parent myself. All I know is that I viewed my pain as important. It signaled to me how much I loved my brother and how much my world was being devastated. And in that moment, I had the capacity to hold my pain and weather the storm. In the moments since, I have continued to embrace the pain when it arises, to acknowledge that love and pain are two sides of the same coin, and to use that pain to fuel some of my actions and efforts. 

In the face of personal or collective tragedy, it is important that we feel our emotions, that we heed their message, and that we consider what they are directing us to do. Perhaps that means finding a way to honor our lost loved ones, finding a way to take meaningful action to affect real change, or finding the courage to experience joy again even with the heartache.

Wise mind

One of the concepts I appreciate from DBT is called Wise Mind, which is the overlap of logic and emotions. When we operate from Wise Mind, we acknowledge and feel our feelings but are not ruled by them, and we listen to and are guided by logic but are not irrational, cold, or devoid of feeling. Finding this place of inner wisdom in the aftermath of tragedy or loss is important. Feel your feelings and take their message. Challenge your assumptions and faulty logic, but do let reason guide you. Take your next step with your head AND your heart. 

The choice point

Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, wrote a famous book called Man’s Search for Meaning. In it, he says “Between every stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Modern day psychologists often refer to this as the Choice Point. This is the fork in the road. We do not necessarily get to choose what happens to or around us, but we do get to choose what we do in the face of it. We get to choose who and how we want to be. We may not get to choose what we feel, but we can choose to feel it. We may not have the power to affect the change we want to see in our world, but we can decide to point fingers and play the blame game or we can take meaningful action. We can choose to go down the path of nihilistic despair or the one of growth and strength, if only we have the courage. We can channel our pain into a life that is worth living, even in a world that doesn’t make sense

“Between every stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Victor Frankl
Categories
Videos

Why Your Organization Needs Peak Mind

Peak Mind provides unique trainings and resources that all employees need. Different than traditional leadership programs and EAPs, Peak Mind harnesses the power of psychology to help your employees and team become psychologically strong and resilient in all facets of life. 

Hear from social-cognitive psychologist and Peak Mind co-founder Dr. April Seifert about what makes Peak Mind unique. She explains why focusing on building psychological strength is so important for organizations and how employees can benefit from learning these powerful tools.  

Traditional leadership programs teach important skills, but their effectiveness will be truncated if those skills are not built upon a strong psychological foundation. Peak Mind provides that foundation.  

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Videos

Why Thriving Skills are so Important

Psychological strength allows people to thrive in all areas of life – at work and at home. Developing strong thriving skills is important for navigating challenges and adversity and having a positive life experience. 

In this short video, Peak Mind co-founder and psychologist Dr. April Seifert explains why thriving and psychological strength skills are so important for everyone.  

Stress at home follows us to work, and we bring work stress home with us. Having a strong foundation of psychological strength prepares you to weather life’s storms and perform better in all areas of life.  

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Videos

The Reason Why People Don’t Want to Return to the Office

COVID caused major disruptions in everyone’s lives. As we adjust to living in a post-pandemic world, many employees are resisting the idea of returning to the office. It’s not the office itself that’s the problem. It’s what it represents.

COVID abruptly and dramatically altered our worlds. As we learned to work from home, among other changes, we also began to re-evaluate our lifestyles. While the pandemic certainly brought about many unbelievably difficult challenges, it also caused us to reflect on our lifestyles, which were stressful and unfulfilling for many. It showed us that we do not necessarily have to live and work the way we were before. 

And that insight was freeing to a lot of people. 

As we adjust to life and work in a post-pandemic world, that means returning to the office for many workers. Employers have been surprised at the resistance that many employees feel about returning to in-person work. Dr. April Seifert, Peak Mind co-founder and social cognitive psychologist, explains why so many people are resistant to the idea of going back to the office full-time.  

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Videos

The One Thing You Should Know About Your Mind

Here’s the one, foundational thing that this psychologist wishes everyone knew about how their minds work. 

Licensed clinical psychologist and Peak Mind co-founder Dr. Ashley Smith shares the one foundational thing she wishes everyone knew. Stomachs growl, hearts beat, and minds think. Understanding that thoughts are just productions of your mind and not necessarily meaningful or truthful is important. Furthermore, learning about the glitches in our thinking and the ways in which our thoughts become distorted or twisted is important. With this knowledge, we can set our thoughts aside while we pursue our strengths, goals, and values.  

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Videos

How to get rid of negative thoughts and feelings

Do you have negative thoughts or feelings? Do you want to get rid of them? Here’s the secret for dealing with negative thoughts and feelings from a psychologist. 

Everyone has negative thoughts and feelings. Whether it’s worries, self-criticism, or rumination or emotions like anxiety, sadness, or anger, we don’t like having certain thoughts or experiencing certain feelings. And we try a lot of things to get rid of them. Unfortunately, a lot of the things we do to get rid of negative thoughts and feelings only makes them worse.  

In this short video, licensed psychologist and Peak Mind co-founder, Dr. Ashley, shares the secret for dealing with negative thoughts and feelings.  

Categories
Videos

A Guide to Uncovering Your True Potential