"Don't Sweat the Small Stuff" Not Good Advice

"Examine the small stuff," however, is probably more appropriate. I've been reflecting on my most recent psychodynamic therapy session and noticing that one small event can point to huge areas for analysis and growth.

Considering the complexity of the human brain, early trauma (this word is used in a very broad sense) can affect your emotional reaction to basically anything without you having any conscious awareness of what it really means. You may get angry at a perfectly reasonable, simple, suggestion simply because a long time ago an influential figure said something unskillful off-hand that impacted you for decades to come.

So, instead of ignoring these reactions and letting them repeat over and over, it may be helpful to take a fresh look, get some advice from a third party (a coach or therapist), and maybe lay down some new neural pathways that can help you make sense of the sometimes irrational reactions we have to mostly harmless situations.

Anyway, I've found it helpful. :-)

One exercise you can do with someone else is called a "contemplative dyad." Basically, you spend 5-10 minutes free associating in front of a friend whose only job is to listen, appreciate, and keep confidential everything you say. Then, switch places and return the favor. Notice what you notice. Just having the space to think about a difficult topic out loud can allow you to touch into the roots of the problem in a space that is non-threatening. This can, over time, reduce your threat response to future similar situations.

It's a form of intersubjective meditation. Well worth trying.

I hope you'll try it out and let me know how it goes!

Tags: wellbeing