The Art of Running in the Rain

"To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift." -Prefontaine



A Few Phrases My Therapist Said

I recently read the article “The Most Important Phrase My Therapist Taught Me” and it struck me for a few reasons. I’m happy that I’m seeing more pieces being written that normalize seeing a psychologist. My hope is that one day we will all regularly check in with therapists as often as we do regular practitioners. Additionally the article reminded me of the many phrases my therapist said to me which have helped me so much in the last eight years.

First I want to share with you my therapy journey. It was 2010 and I had just graduated from grad school, I was having a hard time feeling fulfilled, both in my job and in my relationships. I was often paralyzed by important choices and would rely on others to help me make them. When I did make the choices (even with the help from others) I felt very anxious afterwards. I noticed some recurring patterns in both the situations and the people that gave me anxiety and I decided that something needed to be done.

**As a side note, I think all my life I was trying to find a fix for my anxiety, when I was in elementary and middle school it was food, when I was in high school it was disordered eating, when I was in late highschool/early college it was drugs/alcohol, and throughout college it was a mix of exercise/disordered eating. I don’t think all of my outlets were negative, but I think more often then not untreated psychosis (which can be more common than we think) ends up being self-medicated.**

At that point I decided to search for my psychiatrist through my insurance website and I found someone who had experience with anxiety, specifically OCD, which I felt was something I demonstrated. Initially, it was very important that I see him consistently (weekly) for the first six months, there’s research to support the effectiveness of this regularity. I continued to see him regularly for a few years in addition to taking anxiety medicine. We eventually decided to decrease medication (after two years of use) and over the course of the next three years I slowly decreased the amount that I saw my therapist. I no longer see my therapist, but I know he’s just a phone call away, and if I needed help and he was no longer practicing I would look for another therapist.

This leads me to some of the phrases my therapist said that have stuck with me. When I first met my therapist he said:

“Anxiety can be like the static on a radio, I’m not here to take it away, but I’m here to help you turn it down”

I think of this when I’m feeling down that I still have anxiety. Being a person with anxiety is not a bad thing, but we can make it a bad thing in our minds. If it isn’t debilitating us, then sometimes we can ‘just have anxiety’ and that’s okay.

“It’s a disappointment they can handle”

This is something that I remind myself on the daily. I have a really hard time when I think I might let people down, anger someone, or disappoint them. So much of my anxiety has come from thinking ‘I’ve done something wrong.’ This simple phrase he taught me has made me able to make choices in life that feel good for me and line up with morals and not constantly worry about the people I care about being mad at me for it. In addition I started following Nayyirah Waheed on instagram and she has had a few quotes that inspire me, including this one:

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“When you stop seeing a therapist it doesn’t go away, you take all the work you did with you”

I remember feeling anxious about the fact that we were moving to California and that I wouldn’t be able to see MY therapist. We had multiple conversations about it and this was ultimately the phrase that I returned to when I worried about it.

There were so many invaluable conversations my therapist and I had throughout the years and I reflect on them often. The last time I experienced a debilitating anxiety attack was in 2011. I continue to have occasional anxiety, as I probably will for the rest of my life, but I never feel out of control like I once did. I would say that I will never be able to thank my therapist enough for his help, but I’d also have to thank myself because I made the choice to call him, make the appointments, and do the work.

Be well.




Happiness Course Week 1-2

I’m having such a great time learning about the psychology of happiness.  Every time I work on a course I’m taken aback by the fact that UC Berkley offers it for free!  We’re on week 3, so I’m not sure how it works on joining, but I highly recommend it if you’ve got 4-5 hours a week (I try to do it on Sundays in the afternoon/evening).



I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell.  I have enjoyed quite a few of his books, but my favorite by far was Blink.  I love the way it gives you a ton of researched information in easy to read vignettes.  I will read research articles from time to time (especially for professional development in the area of speech pathology); however, Blink’s format is by far my favorite way to gain knowledge about new research.  I think quite a few people are like this because I often see things on googlefacts/uberfacts which are essentially lists of current facts (e.g., Google was originally called Backrub) some are funny and some are just informative.  So I wanted to share with you some of the facts and research they discussed in the first two weeks of my course.

Week 1 “What is happiness?” facts

  1. What determines our happiness? 50% genetics, 10% life circumstance (e.g., attractiveness, SES, etc.), and 40% intentional activity (e.g., stable fulfilling relationship, expressing gratitude, etc.).
  2. What is Hedonic Adaptation? The observation that humans return to their baseline of happiness no matter what they do.
  3. Human beings are NOT good at predicting what will and will not make them happy (e.g., having more money, break ups, etc.).
  4. When it comes to having more money, research found that once basic needs are met (e.g., food, shelter, etc.) money no longer increases happiness.  The magic number, $75,000 yearly

Week 2 “Social Connectedness” facts

  1. The same area in the brain that activates when someone feels pain activates when someone is excluded from a group. – No wonder I don’t like spending time with people that exhibit that behavior
  2. Attachment styles (e.g., secure, anxious, avoidant) play a large role in happiness.  These form in infancy.
  3. Oxytocin, which is produced in the body when we are happy, produces trust towards others, increases monogamy, and reduces stress.
  4. Touch therapy can increase birth weight of premature babies, reduce depression in individuals with Alzheimer’s, doubles the likelihood that children will speak in class, and may boost the amount a child uses the library.
  5. John Gottman found that these four behaviors (coined “The Four Horsemen”), when exhibited together in a relationship, increase the likelihood of divorce/separation to 92%. Contempt, Criticism, Stone wall, and Defensiveness.
  6. To combat the four horsemen, use these strategies: Humor & Play, Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Disclosure.
  7. Parents are happy!!! They are finding that when it is a choice, becoming a parent can be a happy thing.
  8. The following factors influence being a happy parent: Age (older = happier), Gender (fathers gain more emotional benefit), Parenting style, and Emotional bond with child.
  9. The following (child) factors influence being happy as a parent: Child’s temperament and problems, child’s age (birth, older = happier, 1-5 yrs = not so happy).
  10. Friendships release Oxytocin!!!!!
  11. Empathy makes you more capable of sharing joy and achievement, allows you to have close friendships, and increases the likelihood that you will empathize with others when they feel pain and they will support you.
  12. Habits of highly empathetic people: Cultivate curiosity about strangers, Challenge prejudices, Try another person’s life, Listen hard and open up, Inspire mass action.
  13. How to become more empathetic: Become an active listener, Share in other peoples joy, Look for commonalities, Read fiction, Pay attention to faces.

I hope you enjoyed all these facts!!  I find that with each lesson I am compelled to learn more.   I was inspired to take the class because of my love for psychology and how we develop as humans; however, I’m finding the suggestions and facts interesting to put them in the context of my life and the people closest to me.

Be well.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Sigmund Freud.


Link Love III

It’s time for a little link love!!  If you’ve been here before then you know what to do, if not, click the picture to get the full story!

  • Vegetarian foods that aren’t in fact vegetarian.  I’m definitely not the most stringent pescatarian, but I do like to educate myself on hidden animal products in foods, so I thought this article was interesting.


  • I was just about to head out the door to buy a pumpkin spice latte, when I remember reading on Taralynn’s blog that they are no longer vegan, so I wondered, ‘well, what makes them not vegan if you get soy milk and omit the whipped cream.’  This article stopped me from getting one…


  • I’ve registered for a free online course through UC Berkley called “The Science of Happiness.”  I’m a big psychology nut, so I’m super excited for the course.  Enroll with me!!!


  • I recently acquired the Canon Pixma MG 7520 and I am so happy I did, the photo quality is amazing!! Plus the touch screen is pretty nifty.  I have all these craft projects in mind and in my research came across  instaport which gives you the ability to download and subsequently print your Instagram photos, boom Instagram #cantholdusdown


That’s it for now!

Be well.

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