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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
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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.  

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Blogs

Affective Forecasting: Your Psychological Immune System

Two weeks ago, I went to Minneapolis to see Dr. April (my co-founder here at Peak Mind), work on some new super exciting projects, and catch up. While we regularly meet virtually, we hadn’t been in a room together in a pandemic. It was SO GOOD to be there and to spend time with her and her family. 

April’s kids are awesome little humans! As is common with little ones, though, her youngest got a nasty cold while I was there. Now, I haven’t been around a sick person in two years and have managed to not get sick myself in that time frame (knock on wood). So when I was hanging out in the dress up nook (read that as close quarters) and her youngest, who was talking to me, started coughing, I just knew I was going to get sick. There was no way I wasn’t inhaling her germs. I immediately pictured the glares I’d get from everyone flying home with a cough. Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I never got sick. Not a sniffle, not a cough. Nothing. Thank goodness for immune systems! 

We are fortunate that our immune systems don’t just protect us from invading viruses and bacteria. What most people don’t know is that we also have a naturally built in psychological immune system of sorts. Our minds work hard to help us recover from events that throw us off balance. We just tend to underestimate their effectiveness.

Affective Forecasting

As humans, we like to predict things. In this case, we like to predict how we will react to future events or certain circumstances. For example, we anticipate how our emotional state we will be when we lose a job/have conflict in a relationship/miss a goal/etc. or how happy we will be when we get that raise/lose that weight/get that recognition/etc. 

We try to forecast the future and our emotional reaction to uncertain events. This is called affective forecasting (forecasting or predicting our feelings, or affect if you’re a psychologist). 

The kicker is…we’re TERRIBLE at it. 

We consistently suffer from affective forecasting errors, projection bias, and we make mistakes in our predictions. Or, put bluntly, we’re just wrong. While we are generally pretty accurate at predicting the tone of how we’ll feel (that is, positive or negative emotional impact) and perhaps even the specific feelings we’ll have, we are pretty bad at predicting future emotional intensity and duration of our emotions. 

 In other words, we overestimate how good or bad we’ll feel and how long those feelings will last. We think these events will have a bigger impact on our emotional wellbeing than they actually do. We don’t take into account our psychological immune system and how it will help restore equilibrium. 

I’m sure you can come up with all kinds of examples from your own life. How often have you found yourself thinking, “That wasn’t as bad as I expected” or recovering from the heartbreak you thought would last forever?

In case your own lived experience doesn’t demonstrate this point, we can turn to tons of research. Study after study has shown that people return to their baseline levels of happiness after a number of seemingly impactful events, everything from getting tenure to winning the lottery to testing positive for HIV to getting dumped. Because of our cognitive biases, we predict that these events will have long-lasting impacts of a future emotional state…but they just don’t. 

Now, I can understand that this information may not make that much difference for you at this very moment. But think about it. How much do you worry about your future affective states? How much do you pursue or avoid things on the basis that you just know it’s going to dramatically affect your future happiness or misery? For me, I used to worry a lot about losing my vision because, deep down, I was scared (and convinced) that I would be miserable if that happened (I have a degenerative retinal condition, so it’s not a hypothetical fear).

Then, I came across affective forecasting research and even a specific study showing that sighted and blind people have similar levels of happiness. While my mind told me vision loss would be devastating forever, science shows that my psychological immune system will kick in, and I’ll be ok if it happens. I find solace in this. I choose to trust science…and myself…over my mind’s predictions. Recognizing that things will likely not be as bad or uncomfortable as anticipated – or if they are that it won’t last forever – opens the door to take courageous actions and to let go of some worry. What would it be like for you if you trusted, too?

Your mistake was not in imagining things you could not know—that is, after all, what imagination is for. Rather, your mistake was in unthinkingly treating what you imagined as though it were an accurate representation of the facts.”
– Daniel Gilbert
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Blogs

Stop Feeling Bad

How many times have you said, “I feel bad”? How many times have you been asked “What’s wrong?” or told, “Don’t be sad/mad/worried/_____”?

About a million, right?

And therein lies a problem. 

We are taught from early on that certain emotions are good. They’re ok to have. They are desired. Other emotions, in contrast, are bad. We shouldn’t want them, or worse, we shouldn’t even have them. We’re taught to believe that when they show up, there’s something wrong. There’s a problem – our EMOTIONS are a problem – and problems need to be fixed. This leads to working hard to get rid of those “bad” feelings. Unfortunately, avoiding, suppressing, getting rid of, or otherwise fixing feelings doesn’t actually work. Worse, we might even pile on to them by beating ourselves up for having them in the first place.

What most people aren’t taught is that emotions – the full range of emotions – are normal and natural. By virtue of being human, you are destined to feel sad. And mad. And guilty, jealous, joyful, embarrassed, confident, ashamed, happy, disheartened, peaceful, confused, surprised, ambivalent, horrified, empty, excited, etc. You will feel them all, whether you want to or not. In fact, we’re wired to have twice as many negative emotions as positive ones, and we have them for a reason.

Emotions Serve an Evolutionary Purpose

Our brains have the enormous job of processing every bit of data coming in through our five senses all of the time so that they can keep us alive. As a result, they’ve developed a lot of shortcuts. Emotions are one.

Emotions are messengers designed to give us a lot of information very quickly and motivate us to act in certain ways, aimed at ensuring our survival. Think about it. The message of anxiety is danger, and the action urge is to avoid or escape. That’s very helpful when a threat to our bodily safety is near. The message of guilt is “I did something wrong,” and the urge is to make amends. Again, helpful for a social species whose survival depended on being part of the community. Even in present day when we’re not likely to be eaten by predators or die if we are shunned, emotions are incredibly useful…when we understand and have a healthy relationship with them. 

 

Redefining Your Relationship with Your Feelings

Bad is not feeling. Neither is good. Those are judgments, another brain shortcut. Our brains quickly categorize things as good and bad, safe and unsafe, desired, or undesired to speed up information processing. When it comes to feelings, though, judging them is part of the problem. That’s not promoting a healthy relationship with them. Consider this. How healthy is your relationship with that person who constantly judges you?

When we designate natural, normal experiences as “bad,” we’re setting ourselves up to struggle. Feeling sad or anxious or angry or guilty at some point is unavoidable (remember, we are literally WIRED to feel them). Yet, when we call something “bad,” we are saying to ourselves that we shouldn’t have that experience, that there is something inherently wrong with what’s going on inside of us. That would be like saying that having to go to the bathroom or eat or sleep is bad. It’s just a part of being human. We accept those experiences, throughout the course of our day, and move on.

We need to do the same with feelings

When we can learn to recognize the emotions that show up and call them by their proper names, not good or bad, with the understanding that they are there for a reason, we are now open to receiving their messages. From there, we can decide whether the message is helpful or not and whether to act on the urge or override it.  

 

Dealing with Painful Emotions

Once we are able to pause, take a step back, and call our emotion by its name, we’ve already begun to make space for it, to allow it to be there. As we examine our emotions with curiosity, we can reflect on whether acting on them is in our best interest. The goal is to take the input from your feelings under consideration but to stay in the driver’s seat of your actions. And sometimes the best course of action, the one that keeps you moving in the direction that is right for you, is simply to be patient. All emotions, even the most intense and difficult ones, will pass if we let them. If we do not add fuel to the fire and, instead, know that we won’t drown in them if we just stay mindful and compassionate, they will burn out.

I heard this quote the other day that so deeply resonated. 

Emotions aren’t math problems to be solved. They’re sunsets to be experienced.

If that didn’t immediately make you pause, read it again.

Emotions are not math problems to be solved. They are sunsets to be experienced.

That shift in perspective leads to a fundamentally different way of relating to your emotions, a new way to be with them, especially the unpleasant ones. It allows you to make space for and explore with curiosity the very human experience of emotions.

Instead of judging feelings and falling into the trap that comes from having “bad” feelings, we need to accurately recognize them and precisely name them, open ourselves up to having them so that we can explore them with curiosity, glean their message, then move forward intentionally. We need to bask in those sunsets. Doing so isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come naturally to many of us. Fortunately, we can all build psychological strength, including those skills of emotional intelligence and acceptance, which, among many others, we teach inside our Ascend program. If you are interested in building your own psych strength, consider enrolling in Ascend or our brand new live Quarterly Workshop Series (or bundle them and get the workshop series free for a year).

“Emotions are not math problems to be solved. They are sunsets to be experienced.”

– Dr. Robyn Walser

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Blogs

Peak Mind Pro: Combat Burnout at Work

A recent report by Medscape shows the staggering statistics of physician burnout in the United States. While it’s easy to point to the pandemic as the root cause, 79% of the physicians surveyed in this study report that their burnout began before the pandemic.

Research from Deloitte shows that burnout isn’t just a problem for our frontline healthcare workers. 91% of the respondents to a recent report say they have “unmanageable amounts of stress” that negatively impacts their work. 

The bottom line is that burnout is something that impacts us all. The cure for it is not to work harder and take on more. Read on to learn how building psychological strength can help combat burnout and promote work life balance to improve your mental health

 

Psychological Strength Can Help

Psychological strength consists of teachable skills in 6 different areas. 

Elements of Psychological Strength

When we think about burnout, a few key areas are important to consider:

  • Emotions
  • Thoughts
  • Habits & Behavior

Leading Indicators of Burnout

Burnout is a state of exhaustion – mental, emotional, and physical – caused by prolonged, unchecked stress. The sooner you recognize the early warning symptoms of burnout, the better chance you’ll have of combatting it. Emotions and thoughts are powerful leading indicators.

  • Emotions – Burnout is characterized by a number of difficult emotions such as overwhelm, dread, and anxiety. One of the foundational steps to combat burnout is to recognize your own emotional profile. The more you become aware of your own emotions and work hard to label them (not just “good” or “bad,” but to name them very specifically), the sooner you can recognize the indicators of burnout and make changes to support yourself. 
  • Thoughts – Your thought patterns can also be a key indicator of burnout. Thoughts like, “I’ll never get all of this done,” or “This is impossible!” indicate overwhelm, which can easily balloon into burnout if left unchecked.

Combating Burnout

Once you’ve recognized signs of burnout, or recognize that you’re experiencing burnout, you can take steps to combat it. Your Habits & Behaviors as well as a related field called Life Design can help you do that.

  • Habits & Behavior – There is a strong connection between the way we treat our bodies and how our minds operate. During times of stress, overwhelm, or burnout, it becomes exponentially more important to do the basics: eat well, sleep, move, drink water, and relax. These basic health habits form the foundation of a stronger YOU who is equipped to lower stress hormones and in turn help your mental health. 
  • Life Design – Life design can help you identify the root cause of your overwhelm and burnout and generate sets of solutions to test out. Check out this month’s actionable tip to learn more!

Tool to Try

This month, we challenge you to use key questions from Life Design to help address an aspect of burnout. Grab a pen and paper and get ready to do some problem-solving!

1. Laddering

Think about the factors contributing to stress or burnout for you. Identity a problem area or a change that you would like to make. Then, ask yourself a series of questions.

Start with “What will that change do for me?” Be sure to write your responses down.

Then, ask yourself “Why is that important?”

Continue to ask “Why is that important?” until you get to your root desire. You’ll know you’ve gotten there when you can’t go any deeper or you find your answers circling back to ones you’ve already written down. 

2. How might I…

Now that you know what you’re really trying to target, it’s time to come up with some creative solutions. You’ll notice that your root desire can likely be fulfilled in multiple different ways – even in ways that didn’t occur to you before you did the laddering exercise.

Ask yourself, “How might I achieve my root desire?”

This powerful little question packs a big punch! “How” cues your brain to start problem-solving. It’s a clever way to bypass unhelpful thoughts like “I can’t do that,” which shuts down active problem-solving.

“Might” is a permission slip to think creatively. You’re not saying that you will or have to test out any of the possible solutions you come up with, just that you might.

By asking yourself “How might I…?” you are upping your brainstorming potential, and you’re more likely to stumble on a viable solution. 

Set a timer for 5 minutes and write down as many potential solutions or ways to get to your root desire as you can come up with. Don’t evaluate any of them! Go for volume.

Then, select the most doable option, and move forward with it to test it out. See if this is a long term fix for your burnout. Just taking an easy 5 minutes a day can help reduce your levels of stress, and combat burnout. 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes….including you.”
– Anne Lamott
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Blogs

Zero Sum Bias: Insight Gained from Competition

Depending upon whether you’re a football fan or not, or whether you’re one of our community members from the U.S., you may or may not realize that today is the Super Bowl. The biggest football game of the year. A display filled with athleticism, hysterical commercials, and competition.

This event got me thinking about the nature of competition itself and how it can become twisted and entangled in our minds. In fact, our competitive feelings can reveal powerful insights about what we desire, fear, and value. 

Let’s be honest.

For most of us, if we’re being honest, we’ve felt jealousy, resentment, anger, or a similar emotion toward someone who has something we want.

Career success.

Financial stability.

A certain body shape / size.

A certain type of relationship.

Many times, we begin to feel competitive toward that person – looking for reasons why we deserve what they have. Why they don’t deserve what they have. 

These feelings of resentment, anger, and hostility come from a very basic cognitive bias that is baked into the fabric of our minds: The Zero Sum Bias.

Zero Sum Bias

It’s worth getting a little technical for a minute to tease this apart. A “Zero Sum” situation is one in which one person’s success must be balanced by another person’s failure. It’s a situation in which there is only a finite amount of resource to go around, so if one person gets some of the resource, there’s less left for other people. 

The Super Bowl is a great example. Only one team can win. There is exactly ONE trophy to be handed out. One team will get it, and the other team won’t. 

On the flip side, a “Non-Zero Sum” situation is one in which the success or reward of one person isn’t dependent on the success or reward of another person. Everyone can “win.”

Traditionally, grades or marks in school are a great example. In theory, every single person in the class could score high on an exam if they answer all of the questions correctly. One person doesn’t have to fail simply because another person got a perfect score.

But here’s the thing, psychological research shows us that collectively, we all are subject to something called the “Zero Sum Bias.” When a situation involves a reward or an outcome that we desire, we’re more likely to believe that the reward or outcome is scarce and finite, and we see the situation as a zero sum situation. 

To put it another way, if we see someone else get something we want, our Zero Sum Bias kicks in and makes us believe that we’re less likely to get that thing, simply because someone else already has it. Even if the thing they have isn’t actually scarce or finite. Even if it’s abundant and available for anyone to have.

Life is rarely a Zero Sum Game

If you go back up and re-read the list of jealousy-provoking situations above, you’ll notice one thing: none of them are zero sum situations. 

Does your cousin’s career success have anything to do with your likelihood of career success? No.

Does your neighbor’s financial stability have anything to do with your own? No.

If that Instagram influencer has the “perfect body” does it mean that you can’t? No.

You get the picture. 

Yet, because of the Zero Sum Bias, we get competitive, resentful, jealous, angry, and hostile toward people who have what we want. 

Now before you get down on yourself for this, let’s all remind ourselves that the Zero Sum Bias is a natural, normal way our minds have evolved to process and understand the world around us. Sure, it’s not “correct,” but it’s very common. We all deal with it.

Once we can accept that, and once we can be open and honest about our own hostile and competitive feelings, we can actually learn something from them! Read on.

Learn from your competitive feelings

Be on the lookout for situations where jealousy, resentment, anger, and hostility arise. 

Ask yourself if your own success or ability to achieve truly does depend on what that other person has achieved.

Many times, the answer is no.

Then go a step further. Ask yourself what it is you truly desire. If you’re feeling competitive or jealous about another person’s success, Zero Sum Bias would tell us it’s because you desire what they have. 

That is a powerful insight!!

Once you know that, you can take a more proactive, intentional stance toward setting a real goal to move in the direction of that thing you desire. 

If your neighbors are putting in a pool and you’re jealous about their financial security, be honest! Of course you want to feel financially secure!

Then, take some time to decide what you’re going to do about it. Competition won’t get you what you want in a non-zero sum game. You can’t compete with your neighbor to “win” the pool they’re putting in.

But, you can take intentional steps to improve your financial situation in your own life. How are you going to move in the direction of becoming financially secure yourself? What steps can you take, even if they’re small.

Turn negative emotions into insight

So many times, it’s our negative emotions that can teach us powerful insight about ourselves, and this is one of those times.

If you pay attention, you’ll likely uncover what it is you actually want, and you’ll be more likely to move in the direction of getting it.

If you want to learn more about your mind’s natural biases, how they can affect you, and, more importantly, what to do about them, you’ll love our signature psychological strength building program, Ascend. Check it out and learn how to make your mind work for you. 

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Podcasts

The Money Nerve with Bob Wheeler

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How much money do you make? <–How did that question make you feel?  

How about this one, if a job opportunity came up that paid DOUBLE what you make today, how nervous would you be to apply for it? 

In today’s episode, we’re talking about the connection between our emotions and our finances. It’s a bigger connection than you’d anticipate.  

When it comes to personal finance, some of us feel the heat rising just checking our bank statements, but facing our outdated belief systems and emotional blocks is crucial to developing a healthy relationship with money. There’s plenty of podcasts that will promise “financial freedom” but so few deal with how to overcome fears around money and our emotional response to money.

Today’s podcast guest is Bob Wheeler. Bob is an accountant by training, but his work goes so much further than that. Through his book, “The Money Nerve,” his podcast “Money You Ask,” and his live and online training, Bob helps people unpack their emotions and beliefs about money and how they might be influencing their decisions and financial outcomes. 

In this valuable conversation, we talk about the connection between emotion and money. We talk about where our beliefs about money come from and how they impact our decisions. Finally, we talk about how to begin to do “the work” of realigning our relationship with money. 

The fact is, money is not the root of all evil. The more money you make, the bigger impact you can have on society and your own family for generations to come.  

Find out more about Bob Wheeler and his work by visiting: https://themoneynerve.com/  

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Podcasts

Tips for Thriving as an Empathetic Person

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Are you the type of person who can naturally and deeply feel the emotions of others around you? Do you find it easy to relate to other people’s emotions and anticipate how other people might be feeling in different situations? Do you naturally think about others and the impact of your behavior on their emotions? 

If so, you’re likely a highly empathetic person, and this episode is for you! 

You see, naturally having a high degree of empathy is an absolute super-power. You have insight into context and detail that other people miss. You’re also an incredible asset to others around you. They benefit from this super-power of yours because you’re so able to relate to them on a deep level. 

However, many highly empathic people can find themselves feeling flooded and overwhelmed. Burned out. Resentful when others aren’t as able to anticipate their feelings and relate on the same deep level.

Those with empathic personalities have higher emotional intelligence and a preternatural ability to understand how people feel. But it can be dangerous for empathetic people if they don’t set healthy boundaries when seeing the world from another person’s point of view. Those that don’t practice empathy can face mental health challenges, feeling overwhelmed and absorbing the emotions of those with whom they interact. Without proper care, they can be left feeling drained.

In this episode, we’re talking about the 2 sides of empathy, with the hope that it helps you understand yourself a bit better. 

We’ll also talk about some practical things you can do to help support yourself if you happen to be a highly empathetic person. In particular, self-care is even more important for you. Having a guilt-free, effective, tailored self-care program is an absolute necessity for you. 

Because self-care is so critical, we’re thrilled to announce our newest Peak Mind program: Self-Care [by design]. This program will guide you through a step-by-step process to create your own guilt-free, effective, custom self-care routine to make sure you’re taken care of. Find out more information at www.peakmindpsychology.com/selfcare . At only $29, this program is accessible to nearly anyone who is ready to make themselves a priority.