Anchor Your Day ~ a mental health blog by Counselwise ~

Are Opposite Sex Friendships Okay?

Yesterday’s blog post touched on jealousy and how it can erode relationships. But are opposite sex friendships okay? The short answer…..they can be, but proceed with caution. Our attachment system works in such a way that we can easily attach to more than one child, more than one friend, more than one sibling or family member. When it comes to our partners, however, our attachment system tends to need full investment; when we begin relying on an opposite sex friend on an emotional level (instead of our spouse), we risk becoming attached to them, leading potentially to thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. It is a slippery slope; hence the caution.

The reality of our intimate relationships is that they ebb and flow from times that we are content to times that we are frustrated and feeling vulnerable. Leaning into our opposite sex friend instead of working to fix what is unhealthy at home can lead to infidelity if one is not very aware of their actions.

In order to maintain a friendship with someone of the opposite sex, transparency is a must. Both partners have to be okay with the friendship and adopt the philosophy that there is “nothing to hide.” When we work as a team with our partners, making sure their feelings take priority, we make the ground underneath us more even, and therefore, more secure.

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Jealousy and How it Damages Relationships

Secure attachment is a safe place; one in which we feel a sense of reciprocal loyalty to our partner. Within the context of a healthy relationship, there may be times when we feel a bit territorial; if you are at a social event and it appears that someone has decided to put the charm on your partner, you may get a little prickly feeling, a natural response to someone invading your space.

But what happens when it moves to jealousy? And what does that do to a relationship? The short answer… erodes it. Jealousy is a feeling that can border upon and include emotions such as envy, resentment, and bitterness. Jealousy is about unentitled ownership, mistrust, and suspicion; all of which will do nothing to contribute to the health of a relationship. Jealousy is about feeling insecure and placing that vulnerability on the shoulders of your partner; clearly not their job.

When feeling jealous, it is our job to ask ourselves why; to begin to take ownership for how those feelings developed and what we can do to change them. If our partner is excessively flirty or there have been questionable moments of infidelity in the past, that becomes a relationship problem; jealousy may be growing out of what now has become unhealthy.

In any case, jealousy is an emotion we need to keep in check. Leaning into it not only erodes the relationship, it also wears away at our own sense of a confident and secure self.

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The Art of Being

We are used to being in the process of ‘doing.’ From the moment that we get up we are task oriented. This is not a bad thing; after all, we get a certain sense of pride when we are productive, when we feel in motion, when we can cross off items on our to-do list.

Sometimes however, in the process of doing, we forget how to be. Being comes from our moments of stillness, our conscious choice to be mindful – of a moment, of the way that the sun feels on our face, on how something tastes or smells. Being comes from our efforts to slow down; to move through the day at a comfortable pace. Being comes from our acts of kindness towards ourselves and others – taking time to make a tea, giving someone a hug, creating space for laughter, smiling at someone you cross paths with on your walk.

Doing is an external experience, being belongs to the internal. Being creates stability. When we consciously focus on our state of content, when we create joyful moments, when we understand that through self-compassion we harness creativity, that by accepting and giving love we push aware fear, we are building mastery.

We are moving in the art of being.

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The Wisdom of Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa continues to be a source of inspiration to me; her ability to be gracious, her benevolent nature and the wisdom she found in living a charitable life is something we can all benefit from. Three of my favourite quotes from Mother Teresa include:

  • “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary.” – Mother Teresa
  • “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – Mother Teresa
  • “Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” – Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa lived a life in service of others; yet her words reflect our ability to begin with love and kindness in our own lives, in our own hearts and homes; moving outward as we grow in courtesy and compassion.

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Procrastination; Why we Engage in it

Through an article entitled “Procrastination” featured on GoodTherapy, we are able to begin to see the difference between the natural tendency to put things off  and chronic procrastination:

“One common misconception about procrastinators is that they have poor time management skills. While this may sometimes be the case, there are often deeper issues at play. Some research indicates that those who are prone to chronic procrastination may find help with emotional regulation and stress management more valuable than skills-training for time management. This is because procrastination may stem partly from an inability to cope with difficult emotions in the moment or from a fear of being unable to cope with negative emotion.”

This makes perfect sense; if we tend to have difficulty regulating our mood, or find a particular emotion upsetting, avoidance is one of the ways that we cope. The effects of chronic procrastination can create a defeatist-type cycle; one in which can affect our overall quality of life.

Two ways that the article featured on how to begin to reduce the tendency to procrastinate I particularly resonated with:

  • Find accountability. This can include asking a friend or partner to help keep you on track; the process of doing so will help to create a sense of agency and accomplishment.
  • Start small. Very often, breaking down a bigger issue in smaller steps helps us stick to the task at hand and not feel overwhelmed.

To read the full article which included effects of chronic procrastination and additional coping strategies:

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Today We Have a Choice

Came across this lovely passage about today:

Today you have a choice.

You can choose between 

anger and love.

Division and unity.

Frustration and hope.

Selfishness and giving.

Turning away and showing up.

Choose kindness

and the choice is simple.

It’s hard to regret being kind.

– Rachel Marie Martin

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Observe and Describe; Getting Back to our Emotions

Our emotional system is quite amazing. We are born with a set of emotions that innately work for us and yet that same emotional system is shaped by the world around us. The experiences and lessons we have been taught by our caregivers will influence and guide us into our emotions and our reactions to those feelings, healthy or not.

We know that emotion trumps reason every time. In reclaiming our emotional system so as to begin to feel more emotionally regulated, the first step is to simply observe and describe our emotions at any given time in our day. This is easier said than done 🙂

Our emotions as adults often come with judgement: “Crying is a sign of weakness,” “I go from 0 to 60 when I’m angry and I know its wrong,” “I feel guilty because I disappoint people.” Judgments,; however, tend to be a precursor to action; so we are much better served to set our goals on observing and describing: “I feel sad right now,” “I can feel a tightness in my chest,” “I can feel my anger rising.”

This may not be easy, but with practice and patience, you will begin to see your emotions in a different light. Freeing them from their cages, you will feel lighter and less tied to developed patterns; giving you a sense of agency and direction in your own emotional world.

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A Thought From Gary Zukav

In his best selling book entitled “The Seat of the Soul,” Gary Zukav has this to say about intention:

“When an intention comes from your heart, it brings the energy of your heart into your action and creates experiences for you. When your intention is not from your heart, it brings fear into your action and creates your experiences. You must be aware of what you are feeling and thinking in order to recognize the difference.” 

He goes on to mention that we can ask ourselves this question as a mini checklist:

“Is my heart open? Is it clear, grounded and inclusive?”

If your answer is yes, your heart is open and your intention “keeps you in touch with the whole.”

What a great reminder when we are unsure of our intention. If our fearful feelings are potentially leading us to an action urge that we may regret, we can ask ourselves about our intention and whether or not it is being driven by fear or by love 🙂

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Soft Addictions – Know What They Are?

I have been listening to a podcast called “The Healing Catalyst” with Dr. Avanti Kumar Singh who specializes in both western medicine and the eastern healing tradition of Ayurveda. In an episode entitled “Identifying Soft-Addictions to Reduce Inflammation,” Dr. Singh speaks about inflammation and how it is often the common denominator of illness and chronic disease. Some of her wisdom that I pulled from the episode include:

  • “There is a connection between the stressors we experience in our lives and inflammation. The bridge between the two which is our choices.”
  • “Stress is a physiological response that happens inside of us. Every choice that we make is either anti-inflammatory or inflammatory.”
  • “Soft addictions are those that we choose to cope and include overeating, drinking lots of coffee, watching too much TV, procrastinating, scrolling social media, compulsive shopping and overworking.”

Singh goes onto explain that what we often see as an acceptable way to cope, can in fact be a “health weakening choice.” The podcast episode features ways that we can reduce such choices through simple Ayurvedic techniques, that she refers to as “Ayruveda for everyone.”

This is a podcast worth listening to. Follow this link to hear the 19 minute episode:

To visit Dr. Avanti Kumar Singh’s website:

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Criticism and It’s Internal Voice

“It is all my fault.” “There is something wrong with me.” “Nothing I ever do is good enough.” Clients who come to therapy struggling with self-worth say these things to themselves. And pretty much every one of them had a parent who was critical.

The need to criticize another person is about control. What better way to control someone than to oppress them; if they feel lesser than you, they will most likely do your bidding and you feel safe and secure in top position. Unhealthy? Absolutely.  When we grow up with a critical parent we get these messages honestly; when we become adults, our internal voice takes over and we begin to repeat the messages to ourselves, usually acting in ways that reinforce the way we feel.

We can challenge our inner critic by identifying  the messages, then asking ourselves “Who does this really sound like?” (It doesn’t usually take much exploring to get to the answer.) From there, we can begin to ask ourselves “Could it be different?” And the answer is unequivocally “Yes.”

Your inner critic is yours; it is yours to keep listening to or it is yours to challenge.  You can allow it to keep its throne, or strip it of its power. The choice, ultimately is yours; perhaps that realization is the first step in quieting your internal voice and putting it in its place.

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