Skillfulness

By Lara Fielding | Saturday, July 6, 2013
In teaching emotion regulation, a large part of session time tends to be dedicated to working on the Opposite Action skill for anger (see Opposite action post). Because this emotion can to lead to disruptive and unhelpful outcomes, it makes sense that we become highly invested in changing it. But (and I do mean but), our emotions are critically... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Willingness is opening yourself up to your experience Willingness Skills Willingness, the ability to enter into and allow our internal experience, is one of the most powerful skills you can learn, and the most difficult. Willingness is difficult because our emotions have such a strong connection to our automatic behavioral reactions. As a result, we need the very intentional practice of... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Difficult emotions as messangers for what you truly care about.  “Who would wanna look at their suffering?! I mean, why would I want do that?” A dear client of mine asked repeatedly the other day after reading the Are you a Self Esteem Junkie blog. This is such an important question because it is the most natural thing in the world to want to hold tightly to our self-estimation. Like my client, we all desire... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Sunday, November 4, 2012
I've been teaching a lot about compassion lately. I came across this brief review of the latest research, so I thought I would post it. Compassion skills are central when I teach the Opposite Action skill from DBT for emotions related to anger (irritation, frustration, annoyance). Most of the time, opposite action is just that, an action. But,... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Monday, January 26, 2015
  Why we don't assert ourselves and forfeit our due???? In any interpersonal interaction, the moment we ask for something or have to say no, we are making a choice; my discomfort or theirs? Too often, we choose the former. In some way, this makes us feel in control, we do not have to feel the vulnerability of disappointment or risk judgment in... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Healing Disappointment: Stronger TogetherIn a nation where half of us are filled with shock and sadness, skillfulness takes on a much different tone. On a normal day, the ultimate aim would be to move towards feeling better, or even happiness. But today is NOT a normal day. Today is a day of monumental practice. Today is a day for the excruciating practice of sitting with our sadness as... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Thursday, August 2, 2012
Half-Smile: A Breath Mint for MoodBecause primary emotions are hardwired in bodily expression, activating a posture, opposite to how you feel will help you to regulate the emotion. If you think about it, you will notice that the facial expressions of happy, sad, scared, angry, and disgusted are universally identifiable. No one has to teach us to recognize them. This being the case... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Regulating our emotional reactions to stress, in a healthy and adaptive way, does not happen easily or magically. But, it seems most of us assume that it “should" happen easily and effortlessly.  Like any skill, it is only from PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE, that this becomes second nature. Even with repeated review and practice, strong emotions... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Finding HappinessWe all want to be happy…. Or at least have more happiness than sadness, anxiety, or anger in our lives. But we don't know how the basic system of our mind-body machines functions, to either promote or hinder our happiness. A simple understanding of this system can get you moving in the right direction! Every week I get calls from people eager to... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Monday, January 25, 2016
Setting Limits is tough for Sensetive PeopleHow does this keep happening!? You knew you didn’t want to go to that event… help out with that thing… didn’t have time to get across town in time for that meeting! But you said you would go…do it… be there anyway. Why do we say “Yes” when we really need to say “No”? More importantly, how can we stop doing that without pissing people off or... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Friday, September 26, 2014
Compassion skills are central to Emotion Regulation.  Particularly as Opposite Action skill for emotions related to anger (irritation, frustration, annoyance). Most of the time, opposite action is just that, an action. But, particularly with feelings of anger, there is also an attitudinal or thinking action. Opposite action basically says this:... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Surviving the holidays Why Family is a Trigger Ever wonder why your family can push your buttons like no one else? . . Because they installed them of course! Your pet peeves, triggers, and hot buttons (your Passengers) got programmed into the subconscious of your mind-body vehicle from repeated experiences along your journey. So the holidays are an utter breading... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Sunday, December 6, 2015
Mindful-Mastery Skills Mantra The essence of mindfulness is training the mind to recognize unconscious reactions, so that we may move out of autopilot and into more adaptive responding. Once you start Hacking Your Habits, there are three simple processes to practice undermining autopilot. Moving from Awareness to Effectiveness Just as each component on the dashboard of... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Monday, March 28, 2016
3 Social Comparison Biases that Torpedo Motivation  You know you do it! Most of us do – some more, some less. In the dark of night or light of day, at your desk, or procrastinating before the next task. .... Trolling social media, watching your friends’ successes, casting judgment about whatever thing they're posting and whether your life is better or worse. We ride that wave of envy, taking the... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Monday, July 14, 2014
We have all heard that depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders have an important “biological component.” But what does biological mean? A common misconception is that “biological” means “immutable” or “permanent.” In this blog, I would like to talk a bit about the bi-directional influence of biology and our mind-body vehicles. First, the... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Validation skills, the balm that sooths strong emotionsEver found yourself caught in a difficult dialogue with someone (maybe even with yourself), where emotions were escalating, and reasoning not helping? It can feel like a futile battle as you try everything to stomp out the flickering flames of emotion before a brush fire takes hold! You try to focus on the positive, examine the pros and cons,... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, November 17, 2015
How to Hack Your HabitsYou know how it goes when you get triggered. Something happens, and before you know it, you are hooked. Pulled into an auto-pilot repertoire of thinking and behaving, which inevitably leads to a less than ideal outcome. These traps are extraordinarily difficult for us to catch in flight precisely because they are so quick and automatic. We are all... Read More
By Anonymous | Tuesday, April 5, 2016
#TalkToMe Tati: A Survivor's Story of ResilienceThe tension had been brewing to a boiling point the day the Nazis came to collect young Elizabeth and her older sister. Dressed and packed with their best things, the trip began almost as an adventurous escape from the abusive constraints of their dictator father. Little did she know, this was the beginning of the long road of resilience. Why do... Read More
By Lara Fielding | Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Where the mind goes..... the mood follows! Future predicting can lead to anxiety. Rumination on the past, can lead to sadness.  So, the key to maintaining balanced mood is to hold non-judgmental attention in the present moment. Since minds time travel, and bodies don't, practice actively moving-holding attention in the body. Here’s how. Step I: ... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Wednesday, November 16, 2016
A lot of people are feeling a lot of emotions right now, ranging from hopeful to hopeless; from satisfied to enraged. When we have disagreements, both sides become convinced that ‘if only the other side understood’ their side of things, all could be well.  The result? Everyone is ‘explaining’ – no one is listening – the divide grows! As I watch... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Sunday, September 27, 2015
Validate Emotions, Change Actions, Check Thoughts Happiness is a Practice FACT: Emotional well-being is NOT the human default mode. We may stumble upon moments of equilibrium when there are few or no challenges in the environment. But, most of the time, and certainly if you want to do something interesting with your life, there will be stress and challenges. That said, it is not easy to... Read More
By Lara Fielding Psy.D., Ed.M | Monday, June 13, 2016
How to Beat a Case of the ”F**k Its”We’ve all been there! It can come on fast - or boil up from a slow brew. There are things to do - goals to be pursued - tasks to be managed. But every ounce of you wants to avoid, procrastinate, and plain old throw in the towel! Your mind starts offering you one hundred different ways to feel better NOW! All the usual suspects come into awareness... Read More