“I have anxiety… or do I?”

Natalie Mills San Francisco Psychotherapy and Coaching, San Francisco Counseling, San Francisco Therapy, San Francisco CA Therapists, San Francisco CA Therapist, San Francisco CA Couples Counseling, couples therapy san francisco ca, couples therapist san francisco ca, San Francisco Marriage Therapy, San Francisco Marriage Counseling, San Francisco Coaching, EMDR therapists in San Francisco, EMDR therapist in san Francisco ca, EMDR therapy in San Francisco CA, psychologist in san francisco, female psychotherapist san francisco, psychotherapist in san francisco, marriage and family therapist in san francisco, relationship therapy in san francisco, help with intimacy therapy san francisco, help with intimacy San Francisco, parenting issues san Francisco therapy, help for depression in san francisco, depression treatment san francisco, anxiety treatment san Francisco, help for anxiety san francisco, addiction treatment San Francisco, alcoholism treatment san francisco ca, help with substance abuse san francisco, eating disorders, help with anorexia san francisco, help with bulimia san francisco, help with binge eating disorder san francisco, learning self-care, EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, self-compassion therapy san francisco, family therapy san francisco, eating disorder therapist in San Francisco ca, eating disorder specialist san francisco, pre marital therapy san francisco, couples therapy san francisco, couples therapist San Francisco, pre marital counseling san francisco, recovering from an eating disorder san francisco, help with eating disorder san francisco, treatment for anorexia san francisco ca, treatment for bulimia san francisco ca, treatment for binge eating san francisco ca, addiction treatment san francisco ca, treatment for substance abuse san francisco, eating disorder treatment San Francisco, mental health san francisco, mental health therapist san francisco, mental health professional san francisco, healing from shame san francisco, recovering from infidelity san francisco ca, career counseling san francisco, trauma recovery san Francisco therapy ca, trauma treatment san francisco ca, mental health support in san francisco, treatment for shame san francisco, secual abuse specialist san francisco ca, treatment for sexual abuse san francisco therapy, trauma treatment San Francisco, PTSD therapist in San Francisco ca, therapy for PTSD in San Francisco ca, trauma specialist san francisco, PTSD specialist san francisco, treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder san francisco ca, anger management therapy san francisco, stress management therapy san francisco, help with communication san francisco, performance enhancement coaching san francisco, attachment-based therapy san francisco, attachment-based therapist san francisco, mindful meditation therapy san francisco, sex therapy san francisco, sex therapist san francisco, sexuality specialist therapy san francisco, treatment for sexual abuse san francisco, psychospiritual therapy san francisco ca, grief therapy san francisco ca, feminist therapy san francisco, treatment for Narcissistic personality disorder san francisco, treatment for borderline personality disorder san francisco, marriage counseling san francisco, attachment-focused therapy san francisco, internal family systems therapy san francisco, internal family systems therapist in san francisco, choosing a therapist in san francisco, choosing the right therapist in san francisco, how to choose a therapist san francisco, find a therapist in san francisco, female therapist in san francisco, finding the right therapist san francisco, ethical non-monogamy affirming therapist in san francisco ca, ethical nonmonogamy affirming therapist in san francisco ca, polyamory affirming therapist san francisco ca

I’m a therapist. I talk a lot about feelings. On this site, I write a lot about feelings, how overwhelming they can be, the consequence of letting them spin out of control, and how to manage them. Since I don’t want feelings to get a bad reputation, I’m going to talk about what incredible guides they can be.

People come to see me for help with their relationships, careers, decision-making, and trauma work. Feelings play an important role in all of these situations. It’s common for people to have trouble deciphering and trusting their feelings. For most of us, when feelings are left unidentified or untrusted they can start to feel like they are totally out of our control. This is when emotion management is really helpful.

And sometimes they’re not out of control. Sometimes they don’t need to be contained and managed. There are times when all we need to do is listen to them because they are telling us something we need to know. This is tricky, though. It can be a tough balance between listening to what our feelings are telling us and feeling overwhelmed and confused by them.

A lot of us struggle with this. We look for ways to soothe feelings we would rather not feel. We look for ways to soothe others’ feelings that they would rather not feel. We reinforce that certain feelings are nothing more than a hurdle to jump. We just want those feelings to go away so that we can feel good again and do what we want to do. It’s understandable.

Remember the example about fire? When we put our hand near a flame, we feel the heat. The closer we move our hand to that flame, the more heat we can feel and the greater the pain we experience. If it didn’t hurt, we wouldn’t be inspired to keep a prudent distance from the flame, and we’d get burned. The pain serves as a useful guide to help us protect ourselves from danger.

We can use this logic for all emotion states, too. If we’re resentful, it might mean we need to self-advocate. If we’re embarrassed, it might mean we need to be more honest with ourselves. If we’re anxious, it might mean we need to put more effort into something. And let’s look at a big one- guilt and shame. Sometimes these emotion states are warning us and sometimes they’re drowning us… and sometimes it’s both.

There are plenty of times when feelings are less about our present experience and more about our past experience. When this happens, the anxiety that we’re feeling might have nothing to do with our level of effort. This is when managing and containing the feeling is important because the guide is a bit off; it’s your brain’s way of trying to predict what is going to happen next based on an old pattern, not the current pattern.

The best way to differentiate between feelings as guides and feelings as overwhelming monsters that need to be managed and contained is to learn about your patterns, past, and present, and start making connections.

If you have any questions about how you can use your feelings as guides, please call or email me. My contact information is located in the “Contact Me” section of this website. I look forward to talking with you!


Love and Be Loved,

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