In this revealing episode join me as I unravel my journey through trauma, Crohn’s disease, menopause and the lessons learnt in becoming resilient.


This episode provides a deep dive into the crucial role of emotions in defining our life experiences, especially the turbulence that often arises in midlife, menopause, and beyond.


I share my challenges with emotional dysregulation, dissociation from feelings and the aftermath of trauma. These narratives underline my connection with my own emotions and how changing HOW I relate to emotions was pivotal in my journey of resilience and healing.


We’re not here for toxic positivity, and I underline the importance of acknowledging our own range of emotions, both positive and negative. The episode underscores the necessity of self-understanding and maintaining a connection with our ‘feeling selves’.


I also discuss how to use a powerful tool for managing difficult emotions – the RAIN technique, from Tara Brach, a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist, the episode provides practical tips for its use. Detailing each step from recognizing and allowing emotions, to investigating and nurturing them with self-compassion, the RAIN technique is an effective roadmap for psychological freedom.


This discussion is not only insightful for those navigating midlife and menopause but also for anyone who wishes to embark on a self-discovery journey by initiating healthier relationships with their emotions. 


Grab your headphones and join me as we tame emotions in midlife!

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Please note: Nothing within this podcast constitutes medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or qualified healthcare provider.

Full Episode Transcript

Our relationship with our emotions is key to how Okay, we feel within ourselves because I think we can actually thrive even when we’re struggling. This is my hypothesis and it has been part of my journey as well going through experience of trauma and abuse and then Crohn’s disease and Then even in menopause,

 I’ve thought a lot about what that looks like, because I get incredible women, in my courses, and we share a little bit of our life story. And many, many times on the live calls, I feel this admiration for these women, for the mana and the resilience and the heart that they carry.

And what happens in the course is that they’re much more able to recognize that within themselves and pivot with just some slight shifts in perception. And so I want to speak to one of those slight shifts in perception today, and that is around our emotions and our feelings.

When I was young, I had a reputation in my family for having a very bad temper.

And it was a point of amusement. for my parents and my siblings and also frustration for them because I did flare quite a bit with emotion. And when I look back now what I realize is that I became very dysregulated. in my system pretty easily, and then I would have a full on meltdown. And so that wasn’t uncommon at different stages of my childhood.

And I didn’t know how to deal with it. On rare occasions when it got so much, when I was having that big meltdown, which we understand so much more now, about now but in back in those days, nobody taught me how to slow or try and regulate or talk to someone or be able to self soothe in any way.

There was the odd occasion where I actually hit my head against the wall. I was having such a big Meltdown. I don’t know if you can relate to that, but my relationship with my emotions was pretty raw I didn’t know how to calm myself. I didn’t know how to self soothe I had some early life trauma as many of us have That, that in itself is not unusual, but I just didn’t have the skills to support myself with the emotions that came up in my body, my nervous system, my heart, and my head.

And then, fast forward to some more trauma when I was a teenager, and some abuse trauma, and I, somehow went into a place of dissociating from my feelings and so I was very disconnected and didn’t know what I was feeling from one moment to the next and most of the time didn’t feel what was going on in my emotions.

That of course as well is not that unusual and then when I did my counseling training we had to have you know therapy all the way through and I was with my therapist, and I was probably ranting a bit. I was quite wound up and You know, you could hear that I was angry or frustrated, or she could. I couldn’t.

I didn’t actually know what was going on, but I was telling her a story about something that happened in my family. And she finally asked me what I was feeling. And in that moment, I didn’t know. I didn’t know what I was feeling. Even though I was talking in ways that were indicating that I was frustrated and angry and sad, I couldn’t feel any of those feelings.

So by that age I was in my late twenties, and I had been disconnected from my emotions for many years, and that was such a pivotal moment for me because of her presence in that room and her question, she didn’t tell me What I was doing wrong or that I wasn’t feeling my feelings.

She skillfully asked me a question that helped me stop and recognize that I wasn’t in that moment aware of what I was feeling. It was clearly going on underneath the surface, but I was very disconnected from my emotions. And Clearly, she could see it. She’s a psychotherapist.

She had been working with me for a long time, and it was just one of those, you know, you sometimes get those therapeutic moments that are a little bit of magic. And they encapsulate the work that’s been going on underneath the surface. A lot of it is beneath our conscious recognition and that you just get to this moment where there’s this crux and this mini miracle where there’s a reconnection starts to happen.

And for me, that was one of those moments and probably why I can remember it so clearly

A way to talk about it is that I recognized that I was split between my head and my mind and my heart and my body. And That I wasn’t on a consistent basis wasn’t aware of my felt sense experience, of feelings, of emotion, of sensation in my body.

And the fact is that it’s very important for us to be aware of our feelings and yet so many of us are not And, you know, my life’s journey as an example of that, and perhaps yours is too, where we compensated for Gaps in attachment, or trauma, or just very normally our parents weren’t able to model to us a good, healthy, reasonable relationship with their own feelings.

And so didn’t have that templated to us, so we didn’t know how to do that. And so many of us have grown up, emotionally matured, through therapy. Or perhaps through intimate relationships with a partner, where you battle and battle and you know it gets so messy and so chaotic, but over time, with a loving supportive partner, you get to change your relationship with your feeling self and understand yourself better.

And why this is important is because our relationship with our emotions is key to how Okay, we feel within ourselves because I think we can actually thrive even when we’re struggling. This is my hypothesis and it has been part of my journey as well going through experience of trauma and abuse and then Crohn’s disease and Then even in menopause, when I wasn’t well, I was fatigued a lot of the time, I was getting headaches on the regular, migraines on the regular, and it became difficult to do my job in the way that I had done it for the last 10 or 15 years.

And yet there still was, particularly through perimenopause, and even in the later stages when I was recovering from Crohn’s disease, even though I wasn’t enjoying the physical symptoms that were happening or the limitations that they put on my life, there was still this thread of being able to thrive.

And I’ve thought a lot about what that looks like, because I get incredible women, in my courses, and we share a little bit of our life story. And many, many times on the live calls, I feel this admiration for these women, for the mana and the resilience and the heart that they carry.

And what happens in the course is that they’re much more able to recognize that within themselves and pivot with just some slight shifts in perception. And so I want to speak to one of those slight shifts in perception today, and that is around our emotions and our feelings. And so I’ve shared a bit of my journey with emotion and with my feeling self.

And. If I could break all of that down, all of that lifelong learning that I had, that helped me to really come into good, healthy relationship with my emotions, I’m going to share what some of the fundamentals of that are that form the foundation of this healthy relationship.

Now, you know, you’re a grown woman or a grown person, you know that. No matter what we do, we’re going to have ups and downs. We’re going to have challenging and negative emotions arise in our life. That is just part of being human and we’re not here to try and do toxic positivity because it never works, right?

So we accept that some days really happy days and we’re really thriving and other days we might feel down or lost or challenged in many ways, psychologically, emotionally, sometimes from things that are going on inside of us, sometimes from things that are very external in the world that we have absolutely no control over.

That the appropriate response are those harder emotions, grief, sadness, anger, anger, anger, loss.

So to me, the definition of emotional resilience is that we can feel our feelings, we acknowledge them, and we stay in connection with ourselves. That we can ride those very stormy rough waves of emotion as they come up, But we stay in a caring relationship with ourselves through it. So that’s a very important piece to emotional resilience.

We’ll move to the next foundation now. To be able to do that, we need to be able to identify ourself as different from, and separate actually, from our emotions. psychosynthesis counseling training, We did a lot of work around the self and identification of the self and we had two Levels of self if I could draw it on the whiteboard right now and you could see it I would do that because it makes a lot easier.

It’s really simple. So we have the the self with the small s Right S E L F and that is our personal Our everyday sense of self, the personality, our psychology, the self that we identify as of, in my example, mother, therapist, dog owner, person in relationship, partner. And how I show up in the world with that.

That is my personal self with a small s. And then there’s another level of self with a capital S. Yes, and that level of self is the non personal self, the beyond the personal self, and it will encompass the spiritual self or the transpersonal self, so beyond the personal self. It might include aspects of soul.

It might include aspects of the collective consciousness. So an experience of a deeply expanded loving sense of you. Say if you’re in a deep meditation or you’ve done a breath work practice and you have this really expanded sense of you, we might say that you’ve opened up to the Self with a capital S.

And that’s important to know because what I want to do now is clarify that the self with the small s and very importantly with the capital s you know they’re beyond the personal self are separate but linked with our emotions and our mind our thoughts our psyche and our body but we’re talking about emotions today.

So Emotions occur inside the self, but they are not in fact the totality of the self, right? Because teaching emotional resilience means teaching that we can connect in with the self, probably more, more with the capital S, the beyond the personal self, and we can witness that I am a human. I am a person, I have emotions, they occur within me, and I feel them,

but I am separate from them, right? So this has been taught down through the wisdom traditions, even in Western psychology. It is taught in the same way. So we can understand that with our mind, but how is that useful for us in, in our everyday life? And so we’re going to speak to that because I’ve got this great little tool right at the end that I’m going to teach.

But I’ve got one more piece that I want to add to this. So I want you to think about your emotions, right? So we’ve just talked about them, that they are separate, but we have a connection with them to ourself. And then our relationship with our emotions can be seen as being on point. a spectrum. So again, I’m getting my whiteboard out, right?

And I’m drawing a line right across, okay? So there’s this line across the whiteboard. And on one end of the line, and we’re going to be talking about how we relate to our emotions. And on one end of this line is me being in control. Controlling, absolutely the boss of my emotions, completely shutting them down, disconnecting from them, not allowing them to be present, separating myself from them, whether I do that consciously or subconsciously, all of the time, it’s a mix of both.

But that’s me in total control of my emotions. And you might be. know people like that, you might recognize yourself as that. That could be a person that’s very much in the head, very mentally identified, always talks in concepts and thoughts, but really struggles to feel their feelings. And then I want you to look at the other line that I’ve drawn on the whiteboard.

And right at the end of the other line is me and absolute submission being controlled by my emotions, right? So if I’m functioning from that end of this line of the spectrum, then I am a total puddle on the floor in response to my emotions. So if I wake up and I’m feeling a bit low one morning, that’s it, I’m done.

I’m not getting out of bed, I’m staying in bed, I’m having a movie day, I’m cancelling my clients and cancelling my appointments and my commitments. If I’m feeling angry and upset with my friend. I am ringing that friend right now, no time to wait until they’re ready, right? I’m ringing them, I’m, I’m shouting, I’m crying, I’m expressing really loudly, or I’m cutting off my friendship, I’m writing in my journal.

You get the picture, right? I’m letting my emotions, at that end of the spectrum, I’m letting my emotions push me around. Healthy relationship with our emotions is neither At that end, where you’re a puddle on the floor, in reaction to your emotions. Or you’re absolutely, you’re the control freak, you’ve cut your emotions off, you’ve closed your heart down, you’ve armoured yourself up. At the other end of the spectrum, healthy relationship with our emotions, of course.

is in the middle somewhere. And it’s a range. You know, some days we might feel a little more subject to our emotions. Some days we will need to comfort ourselves and take some time out. Other days we’re going to need to just get on and get things done. That’s a normal part of life, even though we’re feeling a bit broken inside.

But what I’m saying is if you can visualize that line and you have those two very polar Opposite ends of that spectrum. Healthy relationship with our emotions is somewhere there in the middle. And it’s always the case in life, right? It’s somewhere in the grey. It’s not really black and white because we exist in the grey, in the messy middle.

Okay, so on to this tool that is really, really helpful for working with difficult emotions. And it’s not my tool. I didn’t create it, but it is very helpful and I’ve taught it to a lot of people and I’ve taught it for many years. And it is the RAIN technique. So this technique was coined by Tara Brac

tara Brac is a Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist and she’s written a book about the RAIN technique if you want to go further into it. So RAIN is an acronym So it’s R A I N, and if we start with R, so you’d, right, so this, you would use this technical tool when you’re dealing with difficult emotions.

The first one is R, and that is to recognize, to notice what’s coming up in yourself. What am I feeling in this moment? And if you think back to when, when I was talking about When I was in therapy and I was talking in a very animated way to my therapist, but I actually didn’t have connection with my feelings and her question, her intervention, offered that skillful opening for me to sink down into my body and actually wonder, And it took me longer, it actually did take me a lot longer to be able to connect with the feelings that were inside of me.

And that’s a very normal experience for someone who’s gone through trauma in any way. So the first is R. R for recognize. Recognize that something has shifted. Recognize that I might be feeling something in my body. That I might be hotter in temperature. That my breath. pace has changed. So recognize is the first step.

So the A in rain is allow. Allow the experience to be there, just as it is. Not trying to change your experience in any way, simply allow it to be there. So you might have very difficult. feelings arising when you’re using the RAIN technique, you’re making a mindful intention to allow that experience to be there in this moment, just as it is.

That is way easier said than done because when our body has uncomfortable, challenging, difficult, horrible feelings, the first thing our brain wants to do is create a change. Just change that because that, that seems dangerous to our brain that’s the survival survival capacity shows up in our brain.

But the RAIN technique, R A I N, we’ve got Recognise, to start with. Recognise what is happening. Then A for Allow. Allow the experience to be there, just as it is. And then thirdly, we’ve got Investigate. Investigate with interest and care. And what that might mean is that I check in with my body. I notice that my, for an example, I notice that my gut is really tight, that my heart is racing, that I’m holding my breath, that I’m clenching my jaw, that my hands are very tight and curled up.

And I just check in with my body. And I might acknowledge it verbally, those different parts that have changed their function. That is investigate with interest and care. And it could also be that I, I notice that I really want to shut this feeling down. I don’t want to feel it in this moment and acknowledging that.

So that is investigating with interest and care. And then fourthly is nurture. So R A I N U N for nurture with self compassion. So for me, if I’m feeling distressed, contact with my hands on my body. So placing one hand on my heart and one hand on my belly, using some of that soothing self talk that, that is so helpful to calm and ease a nervous system.

I might say something like, Hey, it’s going to be okay. Yeah. Take a breath. I’ve got you. I’m here with you. All those words that are so helpful to hear when we’re feeling distressed. So we can self nurture. We can give ourselves a hug. Honestly, it’s pretty amazing. When you give yourself a hug, you’re actually connecting up different, different hemispheres of the brain.

You’re supporting your body to calm through physical touch. And, I mean, it’s lovely. If you have someone there that That can hold space for you, that can reflect back to you what’s happening, and they can nurture you with care, but that isn’t always the case. We don’t always have people around us, and we very often don’t have people that can listen spaciously, hold space for us, but not try to fix.

And so the RAIN technique is a very helpful tool to and calm. when we feel dysregulated, when we have difficult emotions arise, and it is a tool that you can learn and get better at. So we have recognize, Allow the experience to be there just as it is, investigate, you know, in your body what’s actually happening here, investigate with interest and care, and then nurture with self compassion.

And when we do all four of those steps of the RAIN technique, what happens is that first of all, our nervous system and our brain and, and your emotions get the reconnection that they’re looking for. So you reconnect in with the self. There’s some self soothing that’s happening there. And there’s some psychological space making.

So if you know, if a toddler comes to you and they’re very distressed, they’re very overwrought, and you can just sort of hold that space for them. But they’re having that contact with you, that can often be enough to create some slowing down and settling in their system. Well, when we offer that to ourselves, our nervous system still responds in that same way.

And so what we’re then getting, if I come back to an earlier point, is that by using the RAIN technique, you are creating psychological space with feelings. And when we do that There’s some important things that happen. Well, first of all, you’re creating an opportunity for your brain and nervous system to regulate.

And even if you don’t have someone with you that you can co regulate with, you’re offering that self soothing so that you can actually regulate within yourself a little more. And remembering We don’t need to get it 100 percent right to feel the benefits from it. So you’re creating regulation, you’re creating some space with the feelings, and when we have some more of that, then what happens is we kind of slow down within ourselves and we can then choose how to respond rather than Reacting, which is the normal, you know, when we’re dysregulated, we’re really upset, we’ve got some really difficult, challenging emotions, we’re going really fast inside ourselves, we often react very quickly, without thought, without intention because we’re just trying to unconsciously make that feeling go away so that we can come back into regulation.

Well, when you use the tools that I’ve talked about today, and this rain, method, this RAIN technique, which is based in mindfulness practice and therapeutic foundations.

We’re gaining a skill whereby we can tolerate the difficult emotions and we can choose to respond according to More than just the storm of emotions. Do you know what I mean? You can then choose to respond from goodwill, from thoughts about the relationship if you’re upset with a person Rather than flaring off, you know you can respond in ways that support you more going forward than just reacting out of the emotions or collapsing into them and being, you know, washed away by the tide of emotions.

Now the RAIN method, the RAIN technique is very helpful. You can just google it if you want to It is something you need to practice a little bit ongoing and I, I know it’s a simple tool, right? It isn’t a quick fix, but I’ve heard so much from so many people that have learned it in the courses that I teach that it has been helpful for them to have access to it in their lives, and it is the kind of thing that you need to learn and practice with, okay?

So you give yourself the challenge of, I’m going to practice with this for a week. And so when you feel a difficult emotion come up, then you practice with the RAIN tool, and the next day or the next hour you do the same again, and because it happens really quickly. The way I talked about it, it might have seemed like it was slow and it takes a long time to work through.

It doesn’t. You’re moving through it really quickly, and you’re building skills as you go. But you want to, you want to learn with it and practice with it when you’ve got something going on that’s a challenge. Say, if 10’s the most, you’re at a challenge of a 4 or a 5. When you’re first learning this tool, don’t, don’t try and, use it necessarily on something where you’re a 9 or a 10 out of 10 of intensity, because you’re not really going to notice the changes so much.

But if you practice with it, with the emotional challenges that arise when they’re around a 4 or a 5, 3, then you’ve got Getting into the groove with this tool, your brain is learning it, your nervous system is learning it, and so then when those difficult things arise, those difficult moments arise, you can draw on it much more fully because you’ve practiced with it previously.

So then it becomes a tool in your toolbox that you can use. Okay, my friends, I hope that that has helped with the taming of the emotions, because we don’t want to live a life where we’re completely shuttled from our emotions. That is not going to be helpful for us, because we still want to access the joy, the aroha, the fun, all of the good stuff.

And I also know that when we’re going through perimenopause, It does a bit of a number on our feelings, on our emotions, You know, we might have been able to trust what was going on emotionally for us and how we would respond to that, but through perimenopause that all changes. It can flare up or we can feel very disconnected and dulled.

We can just feel blah and not a lot of emotion or we might feel very sad sometimes. Well these tools are helpful at any time of our life, but also particularly through perimenopause, menopause and midlife. Make use of it. Let me know what you think and if you found this episode helpful, share it with your friends, spread the love.

Thank you for listening. Have an amazing day and I’ll talk to you real soon.