The first step on our journey to personal peace and something else clever...
This is the beginning of my weekly ramblings, or I guess you could call it a “peek into the brain of Dr. Sanchez, psychologist and music therapist”. As a point of reference, I hold a full time position as a psychologist at a major medical company while working part time doing mostly psychological testing and assessment for another clinic, and am the founder/owner of The Pacific Resiliency Center for Psychology, Wellness, and the Arts in Stockton, CA. I hope you have your seatbelts on and are ready for the ride... depending on how ready you are to look inward and honestly assess your feelings, it may be a bumpy ride. But I promise, it’ll smooth out eventually.
From the title of this blog post, it reads as if I am checking on you to see how you are doing with this roller coaster of a world we currently live in, then it may seem that I am going to tell you how I am doing. This is actually false (though I do care about how you are doing, which is why I write this), and is rather a call to change the question, from one that checks on others, to one that helps us check in with ourselves.
In my practice, one thing I notice consistently (regardless of the root of the problem) is that people aren’t feeling emotionally well, but sometimes can’t identify why. Emotion and logic are in two different parts of the brain. Logically, a good number of us can tell ourselves, “I’m safe”, “I’m doing all I can to be protected from COVID”, “I’m staying home”, “The news is the news, but I am in control where I am”, etc., but did you know that your emotional center is like a sponge?
We absorb emotional states around us automatically, and no, we don’t have to tell our brains to feel anxious or scared- it just happens. So yes, please change the question to “How am I doing?”, and then answer it, make a note of it, and even write it down, so you don’t forget what your signs and symptoms were (and later have a plan of action to how to help yourself if/when you notice these same signs again). Maybe even keep a simple log on the notes on your phone. Perhaps you noticed you were having trouble sleeping, or feeling less patient, or not wanting to talk to people, or that you haven’t been outside to see the sunlight for a few days. Here is a link to a feelings chart if you’re having trouble identifying the feeling (or feelings) https://thechalkboardmag.com/the-feelings-circle-chart-emotional-communication.
Awareness is the first step and once I know how I’m feeling, I can then figure out what to do to “change my tune” from a song I don’t really want to hear right now, to one that makes it a better day. Please stay “tuned” for future posts as we explore topics such as emotions, coping, wellness... and actually “Anything Goes” (oh... hey, Frank).