Are compliments ever a bad thing? And how important is the delivery of a compliment? Are people genuinely going over your compliments with a spell checker and thesaurus taking offense to the improper use of has, have, or had? Today Tony tackles the topic of compliments and why it would do us all good to embrace both the giving and the receiving of compliments. Tony references the article "You Probably Don't Compliment Other People Often Enough" by Art Markman Ph.D.https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/ulterior-motives/202110/you-probably-don-t-compliment-other-people-often-enough as well as "Scientific explanation to why people perform better after receiving a compliment," from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121109111517.htm

Please find out more about Tony's Magnetic Marriage program by contacting him through http://tonyoverbay.com or by visiting http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic.

. With the continuing "sheltering" rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think you can't continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch, you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript, click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

-------------------------- TRANSCRIPT --------------------------

[00:00:15] Come on in, take a seat.

[00:00:22] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode two hundred and ninety one of the virtual couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and all those wonderful things. And today we are going to talk about compliments, and I am going to give you very solid takeaways. Today, I learned quite a bit about compliments and why we give them and do we give them enough and what the best type of compliment is. So stick with me on this, but let me share what I think was a pretty funny time sink this morning while preparing to record this episode. I got into my office incredibly early. I'm very excited. I love podcast recording day and I am. I'm talking, I'm ready to hit the record button and I find myself wanting to talk about a particular compliment that my wife and I reference often. And we've been married thirty one years now, and it's something to the effect of if you say, Hey, what do you like about me or do you know what I like about you? And one of us just says the other person, Oh, because you like animals and old people and we laugh and we don't explore it much deeper because we've been saying it for so long. So I decided that I would find that quote and I would work that into the episode because that would be kind of fun and nostalgic. But 30 minutes later, I have absolutely nothing.

[00:01:30] I googled it in so many different ways. I googled the actor who I thought said it. I thought it was John Cusack, and I looked for the movie and then all of his movies. And then I quoted specific things and sayings and old people and animals and what I like about you and I just got nowhere. But it led to so many different and I'm just being right off the cuff here in my mind, I thought it led to so many different rabbit trails, which again, now being completely honest. Then I had to Google, is it a rabbit trail or is it a rabbit hole? It has to be a rabbit hole. So I google that. And here's what I came up with is the saying rabbit hole or rabbit trail says used, especially in the phrase going down the rabbit hole or falling down the rabbit hole. A rabbit hole is a metaphor for something that transports someone into a wonderfully or troublingly surreal state or situation. So then I realize I'm not even using the phrase correctly to even find the movie quote that I wanted to use it for that I never found. But I will say that while on my Googling journey, at one point I thought that the quote I was looking for was from the movie Cocoon, and I am literally thinking right now I was about to say, Don't ask me why, but I think it's because the quote that I'm talking about had to do with older people and cocoon as a movie about older people.

[00:02:41] But anyway, it did lead me to find an amazing quote on, dare I admit, Pinterest? Pinterest is a social media thing that I still don't quite understand. I know there are boards and pictures, and sometimes when I Google things, it will take me to Pinterest and I go there and then I need to log into something. But my wonderful assistant, Crystal has connected me with a Pinterest account, which then I admittedly haven't done anything with. So at least this time it just came up, which was fun. But I was there. But here's the quote. The quote said people talk about caterpillars becoming butterflies as though they just go into a cocoon, slap on wings, and that they're good to go. But caterpillars have to dissolve into a disgusting pile of goo to become butterflies. So if you are a mess wrapped up in blankets right now, keep going. And it wasn't attributed to anybody in particular. I absolutely love that quote because I feel like how often are we all feeling a little bit like? We are a disgusting pile of goo wrapped up in blankets? And if so, carry on my friends, because someday there's going to be some wings and you're going to you're going to sprout. I wasn't going to talk about this at all. I was, but I was doing the Peloton over the weekend and it was just pouring rain where I met in Northern California.

[00:03:50] We're talking the reign of the centuries. It hasn't rained this much forever and we went from drought and fires to now rain and the fear of floods and mudslides. And I had someone in my office yesterday saying, Is this end of times? I mean, are you starting to see cats and dogs living together, things that are just signs of the apocalypse? And and I'll tell you the funniest thing. This is going to sound like a first world problem, but we happen to have this big palm tree in the front yard because we live in California and it tipped over a while ago. It tipped over with just a little bit of wind and some rain, and we just threw some really good palm tree soil in there and put some steaks and tied it up, not food steaks, but steaks in the ground. And it's now held in like a champ, and I feel like there's something to be said there. Sometimes we just need to get the right soil under our roots. I really do. I thought about that so much because it withstood the two days of just pouring rain and the ground being soft and moist and and it really hasn't been back in the ground. As long as I thought this was going to be years before it could really withstand the pressure of rain and wind and wet soil.

[00:04:53] But boy, you put the right roots in there, and it had me thinking about doing a whole seminar or webinar on the right roots of a marriage or the right roots of parenting, or the right roots of what you are trying to accomplish or achieve. And because I feel like I have those the parenting model, the nurtured heart approach, or the couple's model, which is the my my four pillars of a connected conversation based off of Sue Johnson's emotionally focused therapy. Or individual models of acceptance and commitment therapy and really starting to just become differentiated and say, Hey, bless the heart of those people who are trying to tell you what to do and think, but this is your journey and you are going to figure out who you are. So I feel like that all that screamed at me when I just looked at this palm tree standing in my front yard. So I hope that you will recognize that you all have this potential to be butterflies. Oh, where was I going with that? Riding the Peloton and there was a Peloton ride about mental health awareness and World Mental Health Day, and it was just amazing. And the instructor was talking about who they are now versus who they were quite a long time ago. And they were talking and not directly saying this, but talking about the fact that if they would have made some big decisions back when they weren't feeling so great about themselves, what a different path that would have led and how really being able to focus on their self care, their confidence, their self-worth put them in a position to then allow them to now go and meet people that they now are connected with or get jobs now that that they really feel a passion for.

[00:06:15] And so often I work with people that are feeling so down in the moment they feel hopeless, they feel stuck, which leads them to feeling like they don't want to do anything. But and it's so hard in that situation. That person can feel so, so stuck, and they can feel like they don't know what to do. And I realize that times I sound I can sound dismissive or invalidating when I say, Man, that's the time to just do. And if somebody says, do what? It's anything other than try to think your way out of that problem, go and do. Go and interact. Go walk, go talk. Go to the gym, go to the mall, go to church, go to a volunteer, go to a meet up group and then your brain is going to say, I don't want to, and I say, absolutely. I understand that you don't want to. And you can even invite your friend. I don't want to to come along with you while you do. And that's one of the best ways to to get yourself out of a rut.

[00:07:04] It may seem counterintuitive because we often feel like we have to think our way out of things. We often think that we have to say, OK, I need to wait until I feel better to then go and do something, even though I don't feel very good now. And the book I referenced so often Russ Harris is the confidence gap. I love that title now. I used to not be a fan of it, but the confidence gap. We tell ourselves that when I'm when I get the confidence, then I'll go and I'll do whatever the thing is. But in reality, I have to go and do the thing in order to build the confidence. And so when we can accept the fact that we're not feeling very good, maybe we're this goo of a future butterfly in a cocoon of blankets that when we accept the fact that, yeah, where I'm at and it makes sense why I feel the way I do, because I've gone through a whole bunch of stuff that I really would rather not have gone through. But then once we accept that, that doesn't mean that now that's our lot in life. But once we accept that now I do feel bad about this and I wish that things were better. Now it's time to take action and go and do do anything. And ideally you go do things that are core to your values or your sense of self or sense of purpose.

[00:08:05] But in reality, even somebody saying, well, don't even know what that is. That's that's another one of those ways that the brain kind of just lobbies for the path of least resistance or to not do things because it can say, Well, we don't even know what to do, and then we buy into that. We say, See, my brain doesn't even know what to do, but don't be held hostage by your brain, especially when things aren't going well in your life or you feel like they could be better. Your brain is trying to protect you. A lot of times your brain says, Let's sleep this one off. It should be better tomorrow, when in reality, that's part of the pattern that's gotten people in the place that they are. So thank your brain. It's in its pink, squishy heart, but maybe try something a little bit different. Invite it your brain to come along with you while you start to do. But I digress, and I think I talked about this on an episode recently where somebody wanted the feedback that I received said they love the show, but I ramble, and then I need to get to the point. At first, back in the day, I would have felt like, Oh man, I better get to the point. But hey, this is my point. My point is that the way we often do with life is we put our sights towards something and then other things come up and then we talk or we deal about those other things.

[00:09:06] So I loved the fact that the person took the time to rate and review my podcast and give me that compliment. I really do. Or even that criticism. They said nice things before that. I'm really grateful for that. But I will say that this is my point that that life does go tangential and it can go in a lot of different directions. And one of the things I love is just that concept of flow, which is what I'm doing right here. But let's get to the episode today. So we're talking about compliments, and there really, really is some interesting information. I'm going to start with a little bit of nerdy. This is from the National Institute of Physiological Sciences and then Re reprinted in Science Daily. And then we're going to go from a little bit nerdy to then a Psychology Today article that puts things together. And then I'll end with some thoughts, so this one might not be too long. So this science daily reported from this National Institute of Physiological Sciences the scientific explanation to why people perform better after receiving a compliment. Japanese scientists have found scientific proof that people doing exercises appear to perform better when another person compliments them. The research was carried out by a group led by the National Institute for Physiological Sciences Professor Nori Hiro Sato.

[00:10:13] And then. There is a lot of other people in there that I'm absolutely going to butcher names Sadako and a bunch of other people professors that did this research. So the team had previously discovered that the same area of the brain, the striatum is activated when a person is rewarded by a compliment or cash. And as a person that has a teenage son in my house right now, this caught my attention right away. A compliment or cash is in the same area of the brain, the reward center that they coincide. So their latest research could suggest that when the striatum is activated, it seems to encourage the person to perform better during exercises. And here's the research. Adults are recruited for a study that asks them to learn and perform a specific finger pattern, so pushing keys on a keyboard in a particular sequence as fast as possible for 30 seconds. And once participants had learned the finger exercise, they were separated into three groups. One group included an evaluator who would complement participants individually. Another group involved individuals who would watch another participant receive a compliment, and the third group involved individuals who evaluated their own performance on a graph period. So no evaluator, no one giving compliments, no one witnessing the giving of compliments. So when the participants were asked to repeat the finger exercise the next day, the group of participants who received direct compliments from an evaluator performed better than participants from the other groups.

[00:11:37] So it indicates that receiving a compliment after exercising stimulates the individual to perform better afterwards. It's almost like it's this cherry on top of the sun, or it's almost this part where you just lock in that performance or that task or the ability to do that task by the compliment is what it seems. So according to Professor Siddhartha to the brain, receiving a compliment is as much of a social reward as being rewarded money. Now again, insert joke there. Let me tell that to my teenage son, but I really. It didn't bring some awareness, though, that I feel like oftentimes people are only motivated by money. But I think this speaks to the fact that money seems like such a tangible thing that it does say, Hey, here's a well done, but to the area of the brain. The striatum receiving the compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money. And Professor Serato said We've been able to find scientific proof that a person performs better when they receive a social reward after completing an exercise. There seems to be scientific validity behind the message praise to encourage improvement. So complimenting somebody could become an easy and effective strategy to use in a classroom or during rehabilitation. And so that that study led to another article. And this is an article from Psychology Today that I think will make this a little bit more tangible.

[00:12:52] This is by Art Marcum, PhD, and this is from Psychology Today and an article called You Probably Don't Compliment Other People often enough and research is. The subheadline says research suggests people don't realize how good compliments make others feel. The key points in this article, it says, are that people underestimate how good compliments will make others feel. People focus too much on phrasing the compliment in the right way. That part is fascinating to me, and maybe this is as somebody with admitted ADHD that I just impulsively can give a compliment. And I don't worry as much about phrasing the compliment correctly. But this makes a lot of sense as I find that a lot of times people say that they want to compliment somebody, but they're not sure what to say. And this just again speaks to how different we are in our own experiences, the way our brain processes data. Because when I hear people in my office say that sometimes in my brain, I think, Well, you're overthinking it, just say the compliment. But I know that it's not that easy for people that struggle with what to say. And then he also says that focusing on the sentiment of the compliment can make it more likely for people to give compliments. So Art said, think back to the last time that you got a compliment from somebody else. It probably felt pretty good.

[00:13:58] Even a stranger telling you that you're wearing a nice outfit can be a nice thing to hear, and then compliments from friends or colleagues or loved ones can be particularly nice to hear, and for that matter, it can feel good to compliment somebody else. But he said that most people don't compliment others as often as they should. A paper in the Twenty Twenty One issue of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology explored why this happened, so they shared that in one set of experiments, participants were randomly assigned to either generate compliments or to receive compliments. So, for example, in one study, pairs of people walking together in a public park were stopped, and on average, they knew each other for at least around 10 years. One participant wrote out three compliments for the other person that were supposed to be nice things that they hadn't told that person before. Then the Compliment writer predicted how nice the other person would feel, receiving the compliment, and then they also focused on how awkward that person would feel. And in addition, they rated their compliments for how warm they were. That is how nice the sentiment was, as well as how well phrased they were. And then the recipient read the compliments, and then they rated how good they felt receiving them, how awkward they felt, and how warm and well phrased the. It's were, and the key finding was that participants underestimated how good the compliment would make the recipient feel, and they had a control condition showing that people do not underestimate how other people feel in general, which was fascinating.

[00:15:25] So it was specific to the effect of giving somebody this compliment. So reading that again. The key finding was that participants underestimated how good the compliment would make the recipient feel. So if the person giving the compliment wrote down on a piece of paper and they didn't have the exact date, but let's say that out of half out of one one out of 10, if they said, OK, the person, it'll probably mean something around a five or six to them. Well, the person receiving the actual compliment said, now that one, that one felt like an eight, even if it wasn't the most sincere compliment. So it shows that we crave this compliments. We crave hearing others say things that they appreciate about us and I have. I have deep thoughts on this, and it goes way back to the concepts I talk about, often on attachment where when we're born into the world, a baby doesn't even know that they exist. They don't even know they're an entity until they they interact with other human beings, till they're fed, till they're there, their diapers are cleaned or but then they have an interaction with others. And then we are programed from that point to know we exist or that we're alive. So sometimes I feel like we must go throughout our lives.

[00:16:25] Oftentimes, we're just in our own head, so even just receiving a compliment from somebody is almost this just the the subconscious? Just check in with somebody to say, Do I exist? Am I alive? And we want that attention. We want that. We want to know that we we exist, that we matter. And so far better to know that we matter from somebody that is giving us a compliment. Participants also overestimated how awkward the recipient would feel. So again, the first thing that they overestimated was are they underestimated how people would feel in general. So people like receiving the compliments, then they overestimated how awkward the recipient would feel. So the person giving the compliment and again, they don't give the scales on this. But let's say that same model, if they said, you know, I think that people are going to feel really awkward receiving the compliment. But the people receiving the compliment also said, no, I actually don't feel very awkward if it feels pretty good. The third part of that was participants also slightly underestimated how warm the recipients would find the compliment. So people, they really appreciated the compliment. It didn't make them feel as awkward as the person giving the compliment thought. And then the people receiving the compliment also found that they found it quite warm that of getting that compliment from the person giving the compliment. And then finally, participants strongly underestimated how well phrased recipients found the compliment to be.

[00:17:40] So again, they strongly underestimated how well phrased recipients found the compliment to be. So let's dove into what those findings mean. So participants were asked how often they complimented the person they had been walking with, and people systematically said that they give fewer compliments than they think that they should. So it speaks to the fact that we're pretty aware that it would probably be a better world if we were giving more compliments. And this set of findings was replicated several times. It wasn't just this one occasion. So the upshot is that people underestimate the positive impact that a that a compliment will have on others. And art goes on to say that in particular, recipients focus quite a bit on the sentiment expressed, and they're not that concerned with the way it's phrased. And I feel like this is something that in my office we'll talk about where if I if somebody is worried about the way they are going to phrase a text, I have people that will spend so long on text. And but then I will often say, how often do you receive a text? Where then you break down the grammar, or you can't believe that the person didn't capitalize something or didn't have the the correct apostrophe or question mark? And not often people aren't as concerned with the way that something is phrased. So if you're a person who finds yourself not expressing compliments or sharing things that you would like to share with somebody because you're worried about the way it's phrased, then please hear this that this these findings that were replicated several times that was one of the biggest pieces to this was participants strongly underestimated how well phrased recipients, how well phrased recipients found the compliments to be.

[00:19:11] So meaning that people don't necessarily care very much about how it's phrased. It's the sentiment and the fact that somebody is expressing a compliment that really matters. Another study demonstrated that this mis estimation of the impact of compliments affects whether people choose to give them. So in a final study, Art shared that individuals wrote out compliments for another person in their lives, and then participants were directed to focus either on the warmth of the compliment or again on how well phrased it was. And participants who focused on the warmth of the compliment rated themselves later as much more willing to deliver the compliment to the other person than those who focused on how well phrased it was. So it just backs up further that if you're over focusing on how you phrase a compliment, then it makes sense where you are not going to deliver those compliments. And meanwhile, now we've got this data that says, by the way, people love getting compliments and they like them more than we even think they do. So putting these findings together, it says that people miss a lot of opportunities to make other people feel good because they don't deliver the compliments they think of.

[00:20:12] And then he says, and this is such a good summary, a big reason why they don't give these compliments is because they underestimate how good those compliments will make the other person feel. And a big reason why they underestimate the impact of the compliments is because they focus more on executing the compliment and meaning and saying it the right way than on how good the compliment will make other people feel. So in conclusion, he says, if you have a chance to compliment somebody else in your life, you, you should probably do it. Let's talk about this. In conclusion, this is one of those. What do we learn today? Moments that, oh, maybe right now is a real quick. I didn't want to throw things up in the beginning, but my magnetic marriage course with Preston Pug Meyer, we've been saying this for a little while, but the next round is coming in early November. So contact me. You can go to Tony over Bacon and then shoot me an email through the contact form. If you want to find out more information, we're going to hold a webinar. I believe it's going to be next week at some point to just give more details and give a little bit of a preview for the course. This is round three. The first two rounds sold out pretty quickly and but you can just contact me and I'll make sure that you're on that list to find out more.

[00:21:14] And if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then I will try. And that's at virtual counter at Tony Overbay licensed marriage and family therapist. Then I'm really going to try to do a better job, be more intentional about sharing when the webinar will hit and what that's going to be like. And then I continually forget to mention that Betterhelp.com is a wonderful sponsor of the virtual couch. And if you go to Betterhelp.com virtual account, you get 10 percent off your first month's services, and Betterhelp.com can get you speaking to a licensed professional counselor or licensed marriage and family therapist in your neck of the woods. But but doing so via tele therapy, via phone calls or video chats or texts, or there are so many ways to connect to a therapist, and it's well over a million people. I think it's up to one point five million people have taken advantage of better help services, so don't put that off. They now offer couples counseling as well. So go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you deserve to to address some of the mental health concerns. Because it's been a crazy two years, it really has. And as a therapist, I'm a big fan of people going to therapy period, but especially now give yourself a give yourself some grace, take a little bit of self-care and just go and find someone that you can talk to, whether through betterhelp.com slash virtual couch, somebody in your area, whatever you need to do, so do that today.

[00:22:28] All right. In conclusion. Giving compliments It does so much not only for those who you give them to, but I believe it does a lot for the person given the compliment. Why? Because much like the science of gratitude, when people are keeping any type of a variation of a gratitude journal, they're looking outside of themselves and looking for things to be grateful for, which absolutely puts the mind in a state of a positive confirmation bias, meaning that you're looking for more things to be grateful for. So trust me, you are going to find more of what you're looking for. Be it negative or positive. And I know I know the brain and thoughts, and I know that it's more complicated and nuanced than that. But in general, the concept of confirmation bias is so real it is just so real. When I bought my current car, the one I'm driving right now. It was funny once I bought it, man, I see those cars everywhere. And when I started shaving my head long, long ago, all of a sudden, Oh man, there were far more people walking around with shaved heads. So my challenge to you would be to be a bit more intentional about giving compliments with maybe a couple of caveats.

[00:23:28] You cannot expect a compliment in return. You may find yourself expecting a compliment in return, but I would encourage you to give a compliment to make someone's day to help make them feel them feel more confident without expecting something in return. That is next level Zen Master kind of stuff. Give out goodness into the world. We were all doing a bit more of that without the expectation of reciprocity than the overall vibe in the world and the entire universe would amp up. It would be amazing, and I would also encourage you to look for something about the person, not simply their looks or their outward appearance or even their outward actions. The compliment, although trust me, that is a great place to start. But what do you admire about the character of someone else? And you got me thinking a lot. I was thinking about my wife and hands down is the kindest human being that I have ever been around. It's amazing to watch her kindness in action now. Can it be to her detriment? First of all, who am I to say that's her own personal experience? Do I feel like there are times that her altruism or her putting the needs of others ahead of her own may cause her more emotional stress or pain? Sure. But that's my opinion, and it's my experience, and ultimately, I want her to be not. Ultimately, I do want her to be the best version of her, not a version of her, that I would like for her to be, because that would be insanely selfish and self-centered of me.

[00:24:37] And it's exactly the opposite way to have a true connection in a relationship. So we are to you as well in your relationships, your two unique individuals coming together to try and battle the world together. And holy cow, we need to have somebody there with us if we can. The two heads are better than one. One plus one is three. Not not enmeshed, not codependent, but that's a podcast for another day. So if you've made it this far, I can just tell how much I really do appreciate you. And yes, I am complimenting you on this podcast that we are talking about compliments. I know, but it is absolutely sincere and genuine. I know that when I started this podcast five years ago. There were around six or seven hundred thousand podcasts and many that weren't being updated regularly. Now I did a quick Google search while I was Google searching everything else in the world and there are well over two million podcasts. So any minute you spend with me on the virtual couch or on my new podcast, waking up the narcissism is the ultimate compliment to me and and I thank you for that. All right. Taking us away, as per usual is the amazing, the wonderful,

[00:25:34] The talented folks with her song. It's one of the.

[00:25:41] Compressed emotions flying. Mr Out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind, it's wonderful.

[00:25:53] And plastic waste and rubber ghost are floating

[00:25:57] Past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter most wonderful. She's. Oh. News of discount price, a million, Opportunity's

[00:26:47] Budget is yours to take or lose, it's one.

[00:26:53] Funds are always on the back burner until the opportune time is pushed

[00:27:00] To go further, shut up. It goes. He seems to be in.

[00:27:41] But developed this does not explode, allow the gun.

Do you often find yourself feeling emotionally invested in other people, movies, and TV shows? Do you feel like you take on the emotional state of those around you? Have you been told repeatedly to “just get over it” or “don’t be so sensitive,” or “don’t worry about it?” If so you may have heightened “sensory processing sensitivity” aka you’re a “Highly Sensitive Person.” Some estimates say that up to 20% of the population would fall under the spectrum of HSP. HSP’s are believed to experience the world differently than others, and they are often more aware of subtitles, and often process information more deeply.

Today we’ll take a look at the research of Elaine Aron from her website Highly Sensitive Person http://hsperson.com and we’ll dive deep into Linda Moon’s article from WellBeing Magazine “Highly Sensitive People - Hailing from the hypersensitive crowd.” https://apple.news/AuVshlAvgQnCQniOI2R7OvwPlease subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

------ TRANSCRIPT ------

[00:00:00] So on July 15th, 2011, I made my way to Carson City, Nevada, checked into my hotel, and I was all by myself. And the next morning, the morning of the 16th, at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m., I can't quite remember, I was set to join a few hundred other ultra endurance athletes and head out on what was one of the most challenging one hundred mile race courses that I ever in the Tahoe Rim Trail. One hundred miler. But this is not a podcast to talk about the race or mental fortitude or the months of training and preparation that went into it. And it's not even a podcast to talk about my friends, Trevor Amanti, who changed my dirty socks and my 50, because that is true friendship, or my friend Mark, who ran well ahead of me in the early morning hours around mile 70 at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, as he discovered and ironically fell in love with the sport of ultra running. Ironically, I say, because he'll be running that same course in just a couple of months, some 10 years later, or Trevor chasing me and trying to talk me out of wanting to just lay down on the trail for a quick nap around the 90 mile and 9000 foot elevation mark, because it sounded like an amazing idea at the time. No, I am talking about what I did the night before the race when I found myself in my hotel room alone. My wife had the kids at home. At that time, they would have been ages seven, nine, 11 and 13. And they were set to meet me at the finish line sometime early early Sunday morning if everything went according to plan.

[00:01:20] But no, I was alone in my hotel room. And as I pulled up the channel guide on the TV, I was I was excited to find access to Animal Planet. And I sat there this evening before my run. And I I've been on all of those programs where they show animals in the wild and hunting and being hunted and how spiders trap their prey or how eagles go at lightning speeds to pick off a mouse in the field or a fish from the water. And speaking of fish, how a bear would catch a fish with his with his bare hands. I promise I didn't see that one coming and smack it against a rock that put it out of its misery. So why was this what I chose to watch when I was alone in a hotel room? Well, it's because these types of shows had been a bit dramatic, but banned in my home, my entire marriage. And I didn't resent my wife. I love her to death, but I didn't resent her for not watching them. But admittedly, I had I had always been curious or fascinated and enthralled by the HD cameras capturing extreme close ups of bugs and wildlife. But if Wendy caught me watching one of those shows, even if the baby monkey was super cute or the caterpillars that inched its way along a tree limb looked fake. She wanted me to turn the channel before those programs often did, tended to show the Predator now devouring the cute caterpillar or the baby monkey that was scared and desperately trying to find its mother. And as I look back on those times, apparently my comforting words of it's not a big deal or don't be so sensitive.

[00:02:45] We're not exactly being met by my wife with a sense of, oh, got it. I didn't even think about not feeling sensitive or not worrying about it. I'll try that out. Now, she was feeling sensitive about the situation because she was sensitive, even highly sensitive. And that is the topic today, the highly sensitive person. It's been over two years since I had my now very good friend, Nikki Eisenhauer, who is a fellow therapist and host of the phenomenal podcast called Emotional Badass, a podcast about highly sensitive people on my show. And that interview not only blew my mind and taught me so much, but I honestly had a handful of clients and even my own wife who felt like this data around highly sensitive people, clinically named with people with sensory processing sensitivity, that it finally helped her put a few of the final puzzle pieces in place on her own experiences of having an extra amount of the feels. The emotions of some people like to say so stay tuned, because we're going to go into a little bit more depth on what, in fact, makes up a highly sensitive person and what is the difference, or is there one between a highly sensitive person and an empath or what can you do if you're in HSP or highly sensitive person and you're in a relationship or a marriage or a friendship with somebody who truly doesn't understand or appreciate what you're experience as an HSP looks like? So we're going to cover that topic. The topic of HSP and so much more coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:04:21] Come on in, take a seat, so.

[00:04:27] Hey, everybody, I am your host, Tony Overbay, welcome to the virtual couches since episode number two hundred and sixty six and I'm glad to have you here today. We're going to be talking about the topic of highly sensitive people. And as per usual, I am host of this this podcast. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. A certified mind will have a coach, a writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner, as we talked about in the intro, and creator of the Path Back, which is an online pornography recovery program, coaching out Pathbackrecovery.com. Or go to Tony Overbay dot com and you can follow some links there. And you can snag a free e-book that talks about five mistakes or five myths that people fall prey to. And they're trying to put pornography in the rearview mirror and doing some group calls. I've talked about that on the podcast, but group calls with that, some pornography recovery group that are amazing. I am the the largest no shame person, a strength based, become the person you always want to be kind of way. And we get results. So that's all I'll say about that. And I also wanted to briefly mentioned I was on a podcast that is airing this week, and it is by a friend and it's Jeff Stoor and it's from crisis to connection. And Jeff did a two part podcast with me, and it's titled Protecting Your Marriage and a Faith Crisis.

[00:05:36] And he's got a part one and part two, because we just talked and talked and talked. And I love talking about this topic. And I just presented on this topic at a worldwide mental health conference a couple of weeks ago. So this really is something that I really feel like is happening in a lot of a lot of the couples that I'm working with where there are people that are on their own faith journey, maybe a different faith journey than their spouse. And so that can bring up a lot, bring up a whole lot of things in marriage. And so in Jeff's podcast and the two part episode, I really feel like we covered not only how to how to manage a faith journey, but also how to put some context or framework there so you can have conversations so that you can find ways to remain connected and to to navigate what that looks like. Even if going into your marriage or the early parts of your marriage or however long in your marriage, that wasn't something that you anticipated. So I highly recommend checking that out. But let's get to today's topic, which is highly sensitive people. And here's where this started. There's an article on the Apple news app that is from a magazine called Wellbeing, and it's called Hailing from the Hypersensitive Crowd. And it's by Linda Moon. And I really like the article. And it's something that my wife actually sent me and said, hey, this might be good timing for a podcast.

[00:06:51] I love when she does that, when she's thinking about me and sends me something that might be good to do a podcast episode on. And the reason she said that is because I pointed out to her on Facebook that a couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine who I had shared some information about highly sensitive people with her. Then she shared that information on Facebook and said that this has been kind of a game changer for her. And she pointed to, I believe, the podcast episode that I did with Nikki Eisenhauer that I referred to in the opening today. And so I shared some other resources. There's a wonderful website called S Person Dot Net, but then this article pops up and I just thought it was perfect timing because I'm dealing with are working with and I have the privilege to work with people that are figuring out or processing sensory processing sensitivity or highly sensitive person in themselves and their own lives. And there is so much relief, I think, at times or normalization of the way that people feel when they learn of something like highly sensitive people. And so I just wanted to go over this article because it covers so much of the HSP looks like what it looks like in the brain, how to how to work with that. If you're if you realize that you are a highly sensitive person and I feel like this is one of those episodes, if I look back on the episode with Nikki, that this is one that I think you might want to forward to people if you feel like they might be a highly sensitive person or you might want to send it to a spouse or a family member or somebody, if you feel like this really describes you or speaks to you and you would like for somebody else to to know.

[00:08:19] So if you are a spouse or a parent or someone that someone for to this to you, I hope that you'll sit back and kind of listen with a sympathetic ear or from a not a perspective of. Yeah, but don't listen with your elbow, as my friend Preston Buckmeier likes to say and to say, well, OK, but you need to they need to hear this or they need to understand this. I would love for you to sort to take it in and say, wow, if the person that sent me this feels like this is what they're experiences, that that might be really difficult or that might be hard. And I want to know more. And so you have this amazing opportunity to now reengage with somebody if they sent this to you and say, tell me more about that, what's that like? And it isn't something where you have to defend and say, well, I did this because of this.

[00:09:01] No, just just hear the person out and listen. Because when people understand or discover this concept of a highly sensitive person, it really can be liberating. But it also is frightening because it also it may make so much sense to the person that recognizes these traits of a highly sensitive person in themselves. But the whole point is that now they're a highly sensitive person. So putting themselves out there, being emotionally vulnerable or handing their heart on a platter to someone. They are afraid that this might not go well, and that is part of the big challenge that a lot of highly sensitive people don't put their emotions out there because no one, they feel them. They feel them so much more than someone who doesn't have sensory processing sensitivity. But an even more so that when someone reacts in a way that maybe invalidates the highly sensitive person, it's really, really difficult for the highly sensitive person to continue to show up and and in essence, go into this unsafe territory when they're trying to explore topics, maybe even low charge topics, but especially the high charged topics. So let me just go over. There's a before I even get to the article, the the site, the highly sensitive person, which is a person, dotcom. This is where I just spent so much time after my interview with Nikki. And here's here's the first part. It says, is this you are you easily overwhelmed by such things as bright lights or strong smells or course fabrics or sirens nearby? You get rattled when you have to do a lot in a short amount of time.

[00:10:25] You make a point of avoiding violent movies and TV shows. Kind of how I talked about in the intro. Do you need to withdraw during busy days in a bed or a darkened room or some other place where you can have privacy and relief from a situation? And oftentimes I add to that one, do you feel like sometimes you just need to recharge your batteries? It's not that you want to withdraw after going through something that can be intense or emotionally intense, but you just need a place to step back and withdraw and recharge your batteries. Or do you make a make it a high priority to arrange your life to avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations? Do you notice or enjoy delicate or sense taste sounds or works of art? And have to tell you that one just blew me away when I would have people then after I did this episode a couple of years ago with Nikki and I would go over this highly sensitive person website when people would say, hey, I heard your podcast about that, and I think that might be me. I, I don't necessarily enjoy delicate, refined sense, taste sounds or works of art. And so it's one of those where I didn't even know how significant that was.

[00:11:24] And some people that were coming to my office and talk about how they with certain fabrics, I remember somebody talking to me about just being so overwhelmed in a sense by the fabrics denim felt, you know, those kind of things or just just the texture of fabrics or the texture of paper, or had people talk about stickers and adhesives and so many different things that they just felt like that was just too much. Do you have a rich and complex inner life, a very vivid and colorful imagination, or when you were a child that your parents or teachers, the U.S. sensitive or shy? And if you have some of those traits and on this website, there's a link after that that says click, click here to take the self-test. You may be a highly sensitive person or HSP and the woman who pioneered the research. And this is a woman named Elaine Aaryn. And she said she began researching high sensitivity in nineteen ninety one and then continues to do the research on it. Now it's called sensory processing sensitivity, the scientific term. And I love the fact that Eileen said that there wasn't anything that she ever planned to write about or do any self-help books. But then the more that she dug into it, the more that she realized this is a population that did not have a voice for so long.

[00:12:33] And here's why. This is this is what just this is pretty fascinating as well. She says your trait is normal, that it's found in 15 to 20 percent of the population, which makes it too many to be a disorder, but not enough to be well understood by the majority of those around you. And if you take that piece of data alone, if you have 80 percent of the population that are not highly sensitive, not experiencing sensory processing sensitivity, that's where that's where I'm at. I'm one of those people where then when if you are the one who often tell somebody, hey, don't worry about it, it's not a big deal. It's nothing to worry about. It's nothing to stress about, then most likely you're someone that doesn't necessarily experience the sensory processing sensitivity. And so it can be really difficult to have empathy for someone that does have these big feelings or big emotions. And I understand that. I mean, that was one of the big aha moments. As my wife and I talked about this a couple of years ago of where I found that I would I would say far too often, don't worry about it. Don't let it get you down. It's not as big of a deal as you're making it out to be. You know, don't make mountains out of molehills or all those sort of things. And here's the thing that I'll probably get back to several times, even in this interview is, ah, in this podcast, is that the highly sensitive person because of that sensory processing sensitivity? Because of that, I hope they don't continue to often advocate for themselves.

[00:13:53] So when they are up against someone that says, don't worry about it, get over it, and that person is not willing to listen sympathetically of what that person's situation is or how they feel or what that's like to have that high sensitivity, then the HSP or the highly sensitive person often just acquiesces. They give in, they say, OK, and then meanwhile, now they have to try to process things or figure things out internally where we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. That's one of my favorite quotes by Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy. And so here's this person that. Would desperately like to connect and process emotion with another human being, especially your spouse or somebody that you're close to, but if that person doesn't understand or doesn't even know what they don't know, they don't know what that's like to have this high sensitivity, then you can see how that can shut those conversations down. So Ellen Air and also says that this is an eight. This one's mind blowing. She says, in fact, biologists have found highly sensitive person or sensory processing sensitivity in over one hundred species and probably many more from fruit flies, birds, fish dogs, cats, horses and primates.

[00:15:02] And this is where it starts to really click or make sense that this trait reflects a certain type of a survival strategy, which is being observant before acting. So think about that one. If you grew up in a tumultuous home or an emotionally abusive home or even just a bless, their hearts allowed home, if you were the kid in that scenario that oftentimes those kids were being observant before acting, they were learning to read a room. And she says the brains of highly sensitive persons actually work a little differently than others. And she has a tab there that has some pretty amazing research on that. And because of that, you're often more aware of other subtleties. This is mainly because your brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. So even she says if you wear glasses, for example, you're still going to see more than others because you notice more. But what can that lead to? You are also more easily overwhelmed. And this goes back to my Animal Planet example. If you notice everything, then you're naturally going to be overstimulated when things get too intense or complex or chaotic or novel for a very long time. And she said this trade is not a new discovery, but it has been misunderstood because they prefer to look before entering new situations. Again, reading the room, they're often called shy or standoffish or reserved. But she says that shyness is learned, that it's not innate.

[00:16:18] In fact, 30 percent of species are actually extroverts, although the trade is often mislabeled as introversion and it's also been called and happiness inhibited ness or fearfulness or neuroticism and some HSP behave in these ways. But it is not innate to do so. And it's not the basic trait. And when you take this since highly, highly sensitive person quiz on a person dotcom website, there are different categories. And one of those is the high sensation seeking highly sensitive person. And those are people that I run into more often not than people that that seek that thrill or that excitement. But then they need an extra amount of downtime in order to process the transitionary time can be really difficult. And finally, Elaine, Erin says that sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. And this is this one is pretty interesting cultures where there's where it's not valued. Hopes tend to have low self-esteem. And I worry that that's in our culture. Probably everyone listening to this podcast that they're told, don't be so sensitive, rub a little dirt in it, get over it. It's not a big deal so that they start to feel abnormal over time. And so she says that you're definitely not alone, for example, that the more that the research comes out on this, the more that people are bringing this to the attention of others, the more this tribe of highly sensitive people is starting to grow and back to that value differently in different cultures.

[00:17:37] And I tried to find this, I could not find this, but when I was looking about two, two and a half years ago, before my interview with Nikki, I found a pretty pretty interesting article that talked about if you go to, let's say, a third world country where someone had been, this sensitivity had been nurtured from birth. So instead of the person feeling like they are less than we're told, did not worry about it or get over it, if people had from the time that person was born, looked at this person as, oh, my goodness, what a gift this person has of being able to to read the room and to feel people's vibe and energy, that these people in these cultures where it was more valued, became the shaman, the medicine people. They were people that people would bring them to in the world of, let's say, an arranged marriage and say, all right, look at these two. What vibe do you get? Will this marriage work? And they were able to predict a lot of putting people together that worked with pretty amazing accuracy. So we we definitely in our culture don't necessarily appreciate or recognize or even utilize, I guess, in that sense, often highly sensitive people. So let me get to the article from The Wellbeing magazine. And again, this is by Linda Moon. And the article says, Hailing from the hypersensitive crowd, a small but growing body of neuroscientific research confirms the existence of empathic and highly sensitive people.

[00:18:57] And she says here's what to do if you're one of them. And I have found that when you get people to come in in your office and they are being open and emotionally vulnerable, that you often do hear people say that. I know it might sound crazy, but I feel like I can feel other people's emotions or sensations or I feel somewhat like an empath. And and I would hear people two and a half years ago and earlier in my career, I would hear people and I would want to meet them where they're at. Hey, tell me what that's like, that sort of thing. But in learning more about highly sensitive people and especially that tab on the brains of a highly sensitive person off of a person dotcom, I realized again it was something that I don't understand. And so it makes me even more empathetic toward the plight of the HSP. And I find it even more empowering when they come into my office and open up and say, this is how difficult this can be. So to this article and I'll be reading quite a bit, and then I always count myself but saying react like a reaction video like the kids love on the YouTube. So Linda, what she says is she says, Do you feel deeply affected by the suffering of others or do you pick up easily on vibes around you? Or maybe you avoid negative social media and the news because the way it affects you and what makes one person more sensitive than others? I think that we often wonder why, if we have a highly sensitive child, I mean, there's a there's a quiz on person dotcom that even talks about highly sensitive children.

[00:20:21] And so what makes one person more sensitive than others and what problems or potential advantages might we face if we are one of the more sensitive we are in that sensitive crowd? And Linda Moon talks about she references Dr. Judith Orloff, who's a US based psychiatrist and an author, and she's spent decades investigating these questions. And it was a surge that grew from her own experience as a child. Dr. Orloff said that she always felt like something was wrong with her, said I felt criticized for being overly sensitive and told to get a thicker skin. She said that crowded places, shopping malls with their noise and overstimulation exhausted her. And I think that's one of these key phrases that it's so mentally taxing and mentally exhausting when people have to be on high alert, when they can't turn that off and their brain, that that becomes mentally exhausting. And she said that those places also caused anxiety, depression, aches, pains. And so, unsurprisingly, Orloff preferred spending time with one best friend over groups.

[00:21:17] And she said a turning point came when she met a woman named Dr. Thelma Moss while working at an intuition lab at UCLA. And Moss was the first adult, she said, to frame all of sensitivity as a positive ability. And that's what I love about my interview with Nikki. If you go find that one of the virtual couch archives is that she does talk about HSP, that you have to learn how to turn it into your superpower. And so Dr. Mohs told Dr. Orloff at this time she told me I was an intuitive empath or Lauffer recalls, and she said it felt liberating to know that there wasn't something wrong with me and I had nothing to be ashamed about. And she said, a whole new, exciting world opens up when an empath discovers who and what they are and that they can begin to really embrace themselves. And they really can they can kind of step into or take ownership of their their gifts, their talents, their abilities. And Orloff went on to coined the term an energy term energy psychiatry to explain how some people's mental health can be affected by subtle energies in their environment. And she has a couple of books, one including Second Sight, one is thriving as an empath and a growing number of blogs. And then there are now films that have given those who feel more deeply attuned to their environment a voice and a sense of validation and empowerment.

[00:22:28] So Juvonen says the empath and the sensitive movements, as it's become known, has the lingo to explain and differentiate what more sensitive people experience. She said there's highly sensitive people, so those are peace or energy absorbers, for instance, impasse, intuitiveness and psychic's. So she says peace and impasse are not the same thing or clarifies. While they tend to get lumped together, they are separate, though they often have related traits. So sensitive people have an increased reaction to external stimuli, including other people's emotions, whereas impasto have a greater than usual capacity to share another's feelings, but from their own framework. And whether whether or not you believe or what your thoughts are around an empath, then, you know, I'm presenting this data to you because I think the key point is if that's something that you have not experienced yourself, then I feel like how can I be one to say their experience is not valid or their experience is not real? And I'll tell you with my marriage therapist hat on, that's been one of the most difficult things or also one of the most powerful things when I'm working with couples. And one basically figures out how to express that, they feel like they are a highly sensitive person. And when they finally put a voice to that, when their spouse dismisses that, that can you know, it can be even more it can be even more detrimental when somebody becomes that Volant.

[00:23:47] Bull, about this experience or something that they have now put the pieces together and then their spouse, the one that they really want to bring that to invalidates them, she says that research suggests that most of us. And she says even psychopaths have the capacity for empathy. But Orloff describes it as the spectrum. And I love that concept of anything on a spectrum which she says is a spectrum with each of us sitting at different levels. She said there's the middle of the spectrum, which is the regular person who has empathy, where their heart goes out for other people in pain or maybe enjoy a little bit up on that spectrum of the highly sensitive people. And then you have even higher on the spectrum is the empath. And she says HSP is are highly sensitive to all the sensory elements of the environment, including light and sound. Other sources of stimulation, again, like we mentioned earlier, can be smells, it can be anything. And also said that she says empath possess all of that, plus a higher level of intuition. They tend to be sponges who take the energy of others into their own body. And Orloff says it's possible and common to be both an empath and an HSP. But not all experts are impressed. And then she even referenced something that I have not experienced, at least not that I'm aware of, that some people, and it's said to be only around one to two percent of the population, have an extreme type of empathy known as mirror touch synesthesia.

[00:24:57] And such individuals literally feel physical touch within their own bodies when they view someone being touched. And if you do a quick Google search on mirror touch synesthesia, I mean, this is something that can be charted with a nice functional brain scan. So it's not something that someone just makes up. And then she said so that some highly sensitive people have developed the sixth sense and are able to tap into information that they feel intuitively, such as possibly even what another person's thinking. And I will I will just say this. I really will. This is why I mentioned that a couple of years ago after having Nikki on my podcast, that my my thinking began to shift a bit on this. And not to not to say that that I had some experiences that were completely out of the ordinary for me. But what I started to recognize of when the more people felt safe in expressing themselves in my office around this phenomenon of highly sensitive person, the more I did hear people that talked about having a pretty unusual amount of situations where they they actually did be able to tap in a little bit more to what somebody else was thinking or some other people's experiences. And I just heard some amazing stories in my office since having this episode on highly sensitive people.

[00:26:03] And again, I'll be honest, it's not something that I personally have experienced, but being able to hear of other people's experiences, people that I trust, people that I've worked with for a long time has been just a fascinating part of this work. So Orloff often does call people that are ones who do feel like they can tap into a little bit of maybe what somebody is thinking is intuitive. And in her book, Second Sight or Love, give an example from her own experience as a psychologist where in a peaceful lapse of concentration, she was hit by what she could only identify at that point of premonition, which proved correct that her cheerful client was about to take her own life. And those are some of the stories that I do here often are some of the people that do feel like it's this gift and as well as a curse where they feel like they're constantly thinking or feeling about what others are feeling as well. So how common are impasse and HSBC? There's no true figure on impasto or HSBC, but more people are identifying with these personality types with self branded impasto trending all over social media, Moon said. For example, the Facebook group Impasse and Sensitives from Surviving to Thriving, one of many groups, she said, has eighty one thousand four hundred members and starting in twenty seventeen. And it's continually growing now. Unsurprisingly, females, long recognized as the more intuitive caring of the sexes, are more prevalent members.

[00:27:15] But it's this reliance on self reporting that invokes the criticism of what they call the empathy movement. And so the question is, does science actually back up their existence, the existence of an HSP? So this is where we go back to the clinical research by psychologist Eileen Erent, who we talked about a little while ago, that she's been studying high sensitivity since nineteen ninety one. She has multiple books on the subject. And in a 2014 Journal article, she claimed that the 20 percent, 15 to 20 percent of humans that possess a measurable trait related to a higher level of sensitivity and responsiveness to environmental and social stimuli. And so that's where she talked about the trait being observed in more than a hundred other species. And in nineteen ninety seven, that's where Aaron developed the highly sensitive person scale, which is a diagnostic criteria for determining XPS. And I will tell you, I took the scale and I did not score high as a highly sensitive person. But that's OK. I got to her. I had to own it. So the neuroscience of sensitivity and empathy. Aaron's research found a relationship between high HSP scores and specific genes. And so there's behavior, psychological reactions and patterns of brain activation. So in the first of its kind study in 2014, this is where Aaron and her colleagues found the brains of people with high, highly sensitive person scores have this increased activation in regions involved with attention, action, planning, awareness, integration, sensory information and empathy.

[00:28:35] So then that confirmed what sense of people have long suspected that they really are feeling different emotions or feelings, that they may not be exactly like everyone else. And so Aaron believes that the brains of sensitive have a heightened response to how they. Process sensory information, and this is where I remember when I first started doing a little bit digging into HSP, you start learning more and more about the concept of mirror neurons, and these are specialized nervous system cells in our brains that are triggered when we feel pain or witnessed that of others. And I remember one of the first one of the well here. I think that she talks about it here. But this understanding of of mirror neurons has has transformed the understanding of empathy from a soft skill to this innate competency that can be literally wired within our brains. So the mirror neurons, it's a mirror neurons, the neurons themselves fire when we perform an act in response to our environment, such as brushing a bug off our skin. And when we observe someone else doing the same, there's the key. That's what I want to talk about. So the the mirror the mirror neurons are what makes us flinch or grimace when we see somebody cut their finger while chopping food and science. Scientists hypothesize that mirror neurons systems help us understand other people's motivations by allowing us to feel and even just a small amount of what they feel.

[00:29:49] And so in more empathetic people, it's thought that these cells may be more active or prolific and in fact, the psychopaths less so. That's not to say that empathy can't be taught or cultivated because it absolutely can. But the person has to truly be aware and take ownership of the fact that empathy may be something that's hard. So that leads to the question of HSP is a genetic or learned or believes that being overly empathetic or sensitive can have a genetic basis, that it does often run in families. But for so many it's related to some sort of childhood trauma. She's talked about being raised in an abusive home, strips down your boundaries so that you're raw, you're open. So she said the world is a threatening place when you don't have supportive parenting and you process the world differently, you don't have the same filters and you are more hyper vigilant. I think that's the key, again, is that learning how to read a room or if you grew up and you had to watch what you say or it wasn't a safe environment to express yourself, then you're definitely going to learn from a very young age to to just be more hyper vigilant and read the room. And so is it a gift or a curse? And that's what I when I had Nicky on or she talked about that, it's absolutely she says, own it.

[00:30:55] It's a super it's a super power. It's a gift. And so in their 2014 study that was published in Brain and Behavior, that's where Erin and her colleagues propose a sensory processing sensitivity involved to enhance the survival of the species. So HSP have this increased responsiveness to potential danger or threats or opportunities in the environment which can benefit an entire group. And on the downside, she says, she suggests the increased sensitivity can place greater mental and metabolic demands on people or these individuals. She said those with the sensitive survival strategy will always be in a minority as it would cease to yield special payoffs if it were found in the majority. And I love that. So if everyone were highly sensitive, then that could be a challenge. It could be a challenge of of maybe taking more greater action if everyone was so worried or and idc me watching what I'm saying, because I don't want to be offensive with this, because that is not me. I mean, I know that I don't understand what that's like, but she said that again, let me read that in the sense that a survival strategy will always be in a minority as it would cease to yield special payoffs if it were found in the majority. She says on on the up impact are more likely to enjoy music and potentially other positive stimuli.

[00:32:04] A study by Southern Methodist University found that high empathy individuals process music differently with higher activation of the reward and empathy systems of the brain. But since intuiting her her client suicide attempt, Orloff said that she's embraced intuition as a tool to better understand and help others. And so she said that she now views empathy as this advanced feature that's important to the salvation of the human race. She said, Our capacity to understand what's going on and someone else, whether we like them or don't, whether we agree with them or not, is the path of peace. And she said that she thinks it's the one of the number one most important qualities in humankind. And she said it's in most people and it's to help us evolve personally. So it helps us to love deeply or be open to nature or the universe or to enjoy ourselves. So she said you may really want to develop this sensitivity, but you also want to develop self care techniques with it. And I think this might be the perfect time to see if I can do a impulsive off the cuff. Very quick. When we talk about self care techniques, if you are seeking help, if you need to seek help from a licensed therapist or a licensed clinical counselor or a licensed professional and you can't find one in your area, go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and do it.

[00:33:12] Over a million people have done now literally over a million people and find someone that can help you process the things in your life. You owe it to yourself, your family, everyone to be able to to have some self care, especially in the way of therapy or counseling. And Betterhelp.com virtual couch will give you 10 percent off your first month's services. And you can be speaking with a counselor or you can be emailing or texting or video conferencing or whatever you want to do with a counselor, sometimes as soon as 24 to 48 hours. And they make it really easy. If you don't find that you fit or jive with your therapist or counselor, then it's really easy to make the break and find another one. So do me a favor, go to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch, because you really do owe it to yourself to develop these self care techniques, including therapy. So the pitfalls of being energy sensitive. Moonen said that while generally viewed as an adaptive trait, being overly empathetic or highly sensitive can have, she said, a dark side for the host. Because many people that struggle with sensory processing sensitivity or high sensory processing sensitivity suffer from empathetic overload. And she said that's related to absorbing excess energy from their environment and other people that are carrying it as if it's their own or Lefsetz. Symptoms can include exhaustion and sensory overload. Feeling emotionally flooded and common health issues related to empathetic overload include adrenal fatigue, which is just this chronic fatigue or anxiety, depression, panic disorders, chronic fatigue, even be weight problems, insomnia, she said.

[00:34:33] And supporting this notion, research suggests that those who are more sensitive to others emotions may be more prone to depression. So a study by psychologists at Queen's University in Canada found that depressed people were significantly better than non depressed people at correctly judging the emotions of people simply from pictures. So impasto can also find relationships overwhelming. They can often struggle or have fear around intimacy because their ability to deeply feel another person's problems and needs. Orloff said that a lot of impasto don't even know how to express their own needs in a relationship, she adds, because it can be so overwhelming. And unfortunately, most professionals as I was, was not aware of the problem. And doctors and counselors don't know it exists, much less how to treat it. But empathetic overload is a very real problem to energy sensitive people. So what do you do? Self care becomes one of the biggest things that you can embrace. And this is where I so talk often about my emotional baseline theory that when your baseline of emotions gets low, then you're going to process everything around you from a lower emotional state. And I feel like this is all the more important when it comes to people that have highly sensitive person, highly sensitive sensory processing sensitivity.

[00:35:40] Self care becomes it becomes the thing to focus on, you know, raise your emotional baseline so that you can go out and deal with the world because the world is there on a day to day basis around you, your job, your relationship, your parenting, all of those things are happening. So it's important for you to be able to present yourself with a higher emotional baseline, and that starts with self care. I did a whole podcast not too long ago. Please go find it on. Self care is not selfish that you have to put your put your oxygen mask on first in the airplane analogy or fuel the tank of your car in order to be able to go and all those other kind of wonderful analogies. But self care. Orlov says it is important for impasse and each piece to carve out alone time to decrease the level of stimulation that they're getting. And this means learning how to set clear boundaries. And I talked about the Gestur at the beginning of this podcast that I was on his podcast, but he's coming on mine and he's a bit of an expert in the world of boundaries. And so I thought, what great timing to bring him on to talk about what boundaries really are, what boundaries look like, and how to set real clear boundaries. But I feel like if you really look at the physiology of what can happen when people are overstimulated, that's where you get your cortisol levels increase and that zaps the or shuts down your your prefrontal cortex or your ability to think logically, irrationally at times.

[00:36:55] So too often when highly sensitive people get all up in their amygdala is I think I like to say, then they are shutting down that logical part of their brain. So no wonder it can be you can feel emotionally flooded or emotionally overwhelmed. So she said again, after setting clear boundaries, nurture. Yourself, take regular social media fast, avoid distressing media of any kind, she said impasse can't take violent or scary movies, and violence against animals is just unbearable to watch or hear about as anything she says. Go back to my example at the beginning of this podcast. If crowded places causes you stress practice centering strategies before you go out, such as meditation or a blood sugar grounding, high protein meal and breathing exercise, she said. Also, take many breaks and time out if you need and limit the time that you're out and importantly, learn how to express your own authentic needs rather than remaining quiet, she said. Impasse can be a little shy and not want to offend people so they don't say anything, Orloff said. If a chronic talker comes up to them in a party, they'll sit there and listen for hours and then be exhausted and feel sick. So you have to learn how to interrupt in a polite way and deal with energy vampires.

[00:37:58] And she said, if you don't learn this, that you have a potential to be pretty miserable. So I highly, highly recommend that if you vibe or if any of this made sense or just you felt like this is you go take a look at the article, this article and well-being. I'll link to that in the show notes. But even more so, go to person Dotcom. And I highly recommend getting Eileen Aaron's book and go subscribe to Nikkie Eisenhower's podcast called Emotional Bardash. She talks about highly sensitive people and the challenges and the struggles and the gifts and the all of it on a weekly basis. And her podcast is incredibly it's so good and she covers all of these and a lot more detail. So I appreciate you joining me today. I really am grateful that we were able to go over this, something as important as sensory processing sensitivity. And let me let me just kind of end with this is going to make no sense. So I say that at the end or I worry that it won't make sense because this is where I work a lot with as anyone listening to my podcast knows, what people that are in relationships with people who are struggling with narcissistic tendencies or full blown narcissistic personality disorder. And what I found is that there there is there's a concept called the Human Magnis Syndrome, where a lot of if you Google Hauspie and narcissism, you find a pretty, pretty solid link there.

[00:39:10] I can't lie. And I think that it is because of the kindness of the there's in the book Human Magnis Syndrome, the author talks about the pathologically kind person, which I believe is a lot of this HSP vibe and then the pathological narcissist who is not going to take the ownership or that sort of thing of their situation. And I'm saying it from a bless their heart childhood trauma. They don't know what they don't know kind of a way. And I mean, there's so much more I could talk about there. But I feel like often that is what becomes this human magnet, is that the chronically or the the nice person and this is where they talk about the author talks about being stuck at a party, talking to somebody for hours that they feel like sometimes people get stuck in their marriage feeling like they're they can't do anything about it. They feel emotionally overwhelmed, but also emotionally their partners emotionally unavailable because they live this life of someone telling them, don't worry about it. I can't believe you said that. It's not a big deal, which is a lot of the basis of what can be considered gaslighting. So it's just something to be aware of. The part where I'm saying that I worry that won't make sense. I've got my hands held now. I didn't do a video on today's podcast, but I often feel like the HSP is over here.

[00:40:15] And if I'm holding my hands up in front of me, the far left of this this continuum and then the full blown narcissism is at the very far right. And I like to think that I'm somewhere in the middle that my wife might say I'm a little bit more toward the right. But I feel like from this standpoint, this continuum is that you you can only look up the continuum. So the highly sensitive person can understand up the continuum more of what that person's feeling, thinking. And and so they have that empathy moving forward. But I worry that people that are further up that continuum, if they try to look back down the path, anyone behind them is going to get the don't worry about it. It's not a big deal, as I know that I used to do a lot. And so I feel like the more that we bring awareness to this highly sensitive person and the more that we can say there is science behind it, that I hope that that will help people that were like me two and a half years ago to say, oh, my gosh, again, I cannot imagine what it's like to have high sensitivity the way that this data shows that it is. And that led to a lot of amazing conversations around my wife and some of her feelings around even struggles at times with parenting and family relationships and church callings and just expectations in general, because it can be emotionally overwhelming when you are looking at that from a highly sensitive person point of view.

[00:41:33] So I hope that you've got a little something today. If you are an HSP, I hope this was empowering and if so, go do more research. And if you're married to somebody that is is on this HSP continuum, then learn all you can about it and embrace that it is their superpower because it's pretty amazing to have somebody that can care that deeply. But my goodness, if you are the spouse of somebody that is an HSP, as I have learned over the last two, two and a half years, just treat that person with kindness because that is a good person and they want to do they want to do well. And I know that you don't necessarily mean anything bad when you're saying don't worry about it, it's not a big deal. But just now know that. This is an opportunity to say, hey, tell me about it, tell me why it feels the way that it does for you. Tell me more about that and know that you will not necessarily have that ability to truly relate. But this is the part where to be heard is truly to be healed. All right. Hey, if you have questions about HSP highly sensitive person or anything, feel free to shoot on my way and to have an amazing week. I'll see you next time on the virtual couch.

[00:42:36] Compressed emotions flying. Starting out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind is wonderful. And have placed in Robert Ghost voting past midnight, and they push aside things that matter most to. Sales of discount

[00:43:38] Price opportunity have a chance to take over.

[00:43:49] Always.

Everything you ever wanted to know about kindness can be learned from...rabbits. On today’s episode Tony talks about kindness, and how Dr. Robert Nerem stumbled upon a most unusual example of how both our emotional and physical health can be improved by kindness.

It’s not too late! Signups for the next round of the Magnetic Marriage course are underway. Head to tonyoverbay.com/magnetic and sign up today!Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.

Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo

Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.

Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

[00:00:00] In 1992, author Henry James told his nephew, there's three things in human life that are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. So now, over a century later, there is ample scientific evidence that shows that, quote, could be speaking to our health and the health of our communities. And so a few days ago, I was driving to dinner with my wife and one of my daughters and I were sharing something with my wife that I really, really thought that she would remember. And ironically, as I sit here recording this podcast episode, I really can't remember what it was that I thought that she should remember, which kind of speaks to the fact that what I felt heard about or what I thought that she was supposed to remember, because apparently I am counting on people to be hanging on my every word and remembering every interaction that they've ever had with me, even though apparently I can't remember my own interaction. But I digress. But I remember looking over to my daughter and I just said, OK, Mac, I am going to do my best to not say. I thought I already told you that again, like ever to anyone, not just to my wife, but to anyone, if at all possible. Because really, what is the goal in telling somebody that I thought we already talked about something or, you know, we've already gone over that before because is it to make them feel bad? Is it, as I joked earlier, because I feel like if people don't remember everything that I've told them, that for some reason I must not matter to them as much as I thought I did.

[00:01:19] If you thought that you shared something with someone and they don't remember, even if you could swear that they know and they're just holding out because they don't want to admit that they remember what you said, or for some reason they think that they hold more power over you because they're telling you that they don't remember or that you can prove somehow that you've told them or what you think that you told them. The bottom line is that the debate of whether or not they remember is, in my humble opinion, a bit of a waste of emotional energy. So if you really want somebody to know something, tell them again. So back to what author Henry James told his nephew rules one through three of life to be kind. And I don't know the exact scenario of when Henry told his nephew, but had he been asked just for kicks to throw in the fourth rule of life, I'm guessing, as maybe you are two, that most likely that would have been to be kind. So coming up on today's episode of The Virtual Couch, we're going to talk about how we've learned a great deal of how important kindness can be by actually checking the arteries of bunnies. That and so much more coming up on today's

[00:02:21] Episode of Virtual. Hey, everybody, thanks

[00:02:30] For joining me. Episode two hundred and sixty one of the virtual couch. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mine will have a co-writer. See your husband, father of four and creator of the Path Back. If you are looking to put pornography in your rearview mirror once and for all. Head to Pathbackrecovery.com. There you'll find a short e-book that describes five common myths that people make when trying to put pornography behind them once and for all. Again, if it's people that are turning to pornography as a coping mechanism, an unhealthy coping mechanism, then pathbackrecovery.com a place you want to be. We've got these amazing group calls once a week that have just been phenomenal, that are very strength based. This is all strength based. Hold the shame, become the person you've always wanted to be. Way I often say, and I haven't said this in a long time, but when I was promoting my book, he's a porn addict now. What an expert and a former addict. Answer your questions that I was doing a little bit of a book tour and at that time I talked about working with almost fifteen hundred individuals is now maybe six hundred and shame has still been a part of zero out of the fifteen or sixteen hundred people's recovery. So again, shame free hold the shame. Become the person you always wanted to be kind of way. Go to pathbackrecovery.com.

[00:03:34] And if you're hearing this on Tuesday morning or any time following Tuesday, you missed an amazing webinar last night for my magnetic marriage course. I'm sure still, I'm sure you can still go over to Tony over Match.com magnetic and get all the info you need is the ability to sign up for the magnetic marriage course is live and it will be closing, I believe, on Saturday evening. But follow me on Instagram at Virtual Couch. And if you want the absolute latest info on signing up for the course or again, I'm sure if you go over to Tony Overbay dot com magnetic or shoot me an email through the website and I will answer any of your questions you have. So let's talk about bunnies. And what I alluded to earlier is we were talking about this. One of the rules of life is to be kind just to be nice. So I gathered this information, this information on bunnies and are terrible health and is the answer to all our stress and illness. More kindness from Dr. Kelly Harding, who wrote this article on Psychology Today Dotcom. And this was posted in November of twenty nineteen. But this has been particularly something of interest to me as I am speaking in my church and a couple of weeks and I'll actually be speaking on this on a on a talk that was given earlier in in my church at a more global level that that addressed this kindness issue.

[00:04:51] So I'm going to speak to this and I've got a bunch of other ideas that I can't wait to share. And so, again, the article by Dr. Harding is is the answer to all of our stress and illness more kindness? And here's what the article talked about. Kind of go into a little more detail. She covered that in the late 1970s. Scientist Dr Robert Narim and his team designed a straightforward experiment to clarify the relationship between diet and heart health. And I love that that was where this article started, that the research was to talk about the relationship between diet and heart health back in the 70s, and they fed nearly genetically identical rabbits, the very same high fat diet. And at the end of the study, they expected that all the rabbits would have equally poor measures of health. Only they didn't. And you can only imagine that when somebody is laying out the testing metrics to try to establish a baseline of sorts, that you have all these genetically identical rabbits and you feed them the same diet. I can only imagine that that the what they discovered wasn't the actual goal of the test. So they didn't find that all the rabbits were the same. One group of rabbits had significantly better. And we're talking 60 percent better health outcomes than the others. And there was no explanation for the difference.

[00:06:00] So then Dr. Nerem noticed that the healthier rabbits were all tended by the same kind and caring young researcher, and she frequently held the rabbits. She talked to the rabbits. She played with the rabbit. So in other words, she gave these rabbits kindness. And so a radical idea emerged out of this study. Could the social world change biology? And again, we're talking the 70s. This was pretty radical at the time and still kind of is. So the team decided to find out. They repeated the experiment with tightly controlled conditions and they got the same startling results. Kindness made all the difference. And this is what Dr. Harding had called the rabbit effect. And she said, as a doctor working in the emergency room, she thought the story made a lot of sense and it helped her understand what she would often see clinically, that patients who fear the worse with illness often lack social supports. And I have to tell you, in my practice, I see the same thing that I remember when I first got into the world of therapy that so often you want to jump in there and help you learn all of these interventions. You learn all these therapeutic modalities. You want to just help. You want to help in whatever way you can. And so often people just wanted to be heard. I've said it often to be heard is to be healed.

[00:07:06] And on so many occasions there were people that would come in and I would even start to talk and they would almost look at me like, what are you doing? I just want you to listen. I want empathy. And so that kindness or that empathy that we would exude oftentimes as a therapist was one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle in helping someone crawl out of the emotional doldrums. Or to rise from a pretty deep emotional quagmire of sorts and raise their emotional baseline. So Dr. Harding said that people usually think of health in terms of diet and exercise and sleep and doctor visits, access to quality medical care. While critical, she said, likely only accounts for about 10 to 20 percent of her overall health status. Even the influence of our genes is not as fixed as it was once believe. Hey, everybody, just a very, very quick break to talk about your mental health as a licensed marriage and family therapist, there is nothing that I love more than when people let me know that they started seeing a therapist or they found a counselor, especially one that works for them after listening to some episodes of the virtual couch. And I get that feedback more often than I ever anticipated when creating the Virtual Couch podcast. So if you are looking for a therapist and it can be a very difficult thing to do, and especially is the stigma of mental health continues to be eliminated.

[00:08:28] There are more and more therapists that I am aware of that have very full practices. So if that is the case, feel free to go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch there. You can be welcomed the world of online therapy, which has been happening ever since the worldwide pandemic hit. Let's be honest, I used to not be telehealth, the kind of therapist and most of my practice went to the world of telehealth there during the pandemic and is only now being able to have more and more people in my office. So the world of a therapy is there betterhelp.com and the folks behind the make up of better help have been embracing telo therapy for the last several years. Now over a million people have found help through Betterhelp.com. Now go to Betterhelp.com, says Virtual Couch, and you'll get 10 percent off of your first month's treatment. Go do what over a million people have done. The intake process is simple. You'll be talking with the therapists and as soon as 24 to 48 hours you can do it over the Internet. You can do email. There's even people that are doing text therapy, which has been pretty darn effective. So you owe it to yourself. You owe it to those around you to go get help, whether it's with anxiety or depression or OCD or any of those kind of things. You can find a licensed clinician in your in your area, but you can see them through the interweb.

[00:09:44] The Internet's go to it today. Betterhelp.com says virtual couch. What are you waiting for? So for decades now, following Dr. Nereids initial study, there is ample research and public health and epigenetics and telomeres and the neuro and immune system that have revolutionized the understanding of health. And in her in the book, The Rabbit Effect, live longer, happier and healthier. With the groundbreaking science of kindness, Dr. Harding describes in detail how our health is greatly impacted by our social world. And so she said, here's the big takeaway for us to thrive as individuals and communities, it's time we put our emotional well-being first. And this is where I often talk about in the world of emotionally focused therapy, my favorite therapeutic modality for working with couples or groups or families that we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being, that we are these attachment based creatures. And so it only makes sense that to be able to find a secure attachment or somebody that will listen, somebody that cares to know that we matter, that someone loves us, they're there for us, that they have our back is what can truly make us our best selves. And I know one of the most downloaded episodes that I've done in the last few months was this episode on the concept of differentiation.

[00:10:53] And it's been amazing. The concept of differentiation is a game changing concept. It's that concept that says that you are allowed to have a connection with someone, but also maintain your own individual thoughts and feelings and emotions and that you can have this connection and that you don't have to give up yourself, so to speak, that you can have a connection with someone and that you can still stay in your calm, confident energy and and be very present with this person, be very present with someone that you care about. And too often people feel like that they have to give in or acquiesce to a partner, that they have to just do whatever their partner says or else their partner won't like them. And we've dealt with that on a lot of the previous episodes of The Virtual Couch, where I talk a lot about abandonment issues, attachment issues. But so we really do want this connection, this human connection with someone else. But too often it's scary because of the the things that we bring into a relationship are baggage, so to speak, from our past, our childhood attachment wounds or abandonment issues that we bring forward into adulthood. And I won't go into my big abandonment and attachment speech now. I think I was on a roll where about four or five podcast's in a row. That's about all I talked about. But if you look at it in a nutshell, when someone doesn't respond the way that we want them to respond.

[00:12:08] So in essence, let me go back to my initial story. If I'm saying to my wife, I really think that I really swear that I've told you this thing before. And she responds back to me and says, I don't remember that. It's still hard. My programing says that that is a deep abandonment issue. It says that if for some reason she's not responding the way that I want her to, that that means that something must be wrong with me, that she must not care about me, that I must not be able to deliver my message correctly. But in reality, we're just two human beings having an experience. I thought that I expressed something to her and I thought that she had remembered it. And she clearly in that moment doesn't remember having that conversation. No harm, no foul. We're both just putting some information out there to connect with so it doesn't do me any good to say, oh, man, I thought that you would remember what I said. I can't believe you didn't remember what I said because. Basically, I'm coming with my childhood abandonment wounds, saying I must be broken, something must be wrong with me, I must be unlovable. If for some reason you are not responding the way I think that you should respond. And then those attachment wounds with those look like those attachment issues that we bring forth into our adulthood or into our marriage are those same things that as a kid, those were the ways that we that we gained attention.

[00:13:16] The attachment wounds, so to speak, are the ways that we had to present ourselves in order for people to like us. Did we have to be the strong, confident type that we have to be the smart person, that we have to be the very empathetic person that we were, we the scholar, where we the athlete, but now we are just ourselves. We are a combination of all of the things that bring us to this very moment in life. And so when we show up in a relationship, the goal is to be able to show up and express ourselves confidently. And then if our spouse or partner doesn't respond the way that we would like for them to respond, that's OK. One of the hardest things that you learn or one of the most powerful things that you learn when you study the concept of differentiation is the ability to tolerate distress or tolerate invalidation that we are going to put ourselves out there on a number of occasions, on a daily basis. And if people don't respond, that's going to feel like we've been invalidated. And that's OK. Sometimes it's hard to sit with that for a moment because we go back to this. What's wrong with me? But nothing is wrong with you.

[00:14:16] It's we're just living this human experience and trying to interact and communicate with people, which goes back to the initial conversation that we're having today, which is about kindness that in the end, doesn't kindness end up ruling the day? Isn't kindness the things that keep people engaged in a conversation? So back to this article by Dr Harding that she's talking about this big take away that for us to thrive as individuals and in communities, that we need to put our emotional wellbeing first, that we need to lead with this empathy, that we need to lead with this kindness. Now, what does that look like? Kindness on two fronts. If I express myself and I think that my wife has heard me or that I've already expressed this before, kindness on my end is to say, oh, my bad. I thought I shared that before. But let me let me talk about that again. Let me express myself again. Kindness on the on the responder. Kindness on the listener might be. Oh, man, I'm I'm sorry if you feel like you have shared that. I don't remember it, but I would love to hear you share that story again. So you've got kindness going on both directions. So she said, for those of us in the mental health field, this is back to Dr Harding. We know that no no one exists in isolation because every human being is a part of a complex, interrelated system, she said.

[00:15:22] We also see that mental health too often takes a back seat to physical health. Or is that the truth, that services are too few or too costly? Or there's a stigma that prevents people from getting the care that they deserve? According to the World Health Organization, only one percent of global aid goes toward mental health, even though depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. So since overhauling the global health system seems a bit overwhelming and probably not something that's going to happen in the immediate future, what do we do? Dr Harding says that you can cause positive change and boost the health of the people around you, whether you work in health care or not. But it comes down to kindness. And I'm going to add it comes down to empathy about tell me more about that. What's that like for you learning those phrases that those just are reflexive, that those come from you, those flow like water, how we treat each other and every aspect of our day to day lives absolutely matters. And our individual our collective health isn't just happening at appointments in hospitals or clinics, but in our everyday experiences. You know, I often have clients dig into their values. There's a values worksheet that I love doing with a client. And one of the most powerful things you can do is absolutely learn what are your core values, not the values that you feel like you should have or the values that your parents or your leaders or your anyone around you has told you you should really care about this, but actual values that matter to you.

[00:16:37] And one of the values that I often find that people do have is a value of connection, connection to others. It might be scary or they may not know how to have connection with others. But when I help people identify what their core values are, we narrow it down to four or five truly core values. Then I'd like to come up with a value based activity that they can do. So when somebody feels a little bit down or they feel stuck or they feel like they don't know what to do, that you turn to one of these value based goals or value based activities. So if one of those is connection or kindness to someone, then you can if you are feeling that way, instead of turn into just pictures on your phone or playing a game or that sort of thing, you can make a connection. You can just scroll down your phone and pick somebody that You haven't sent a message to in a while and shoot him a text or go. And if you're if you're a big social media person, that, again, instead of just looking at pictures and maybe doing comparisons or sometimes feeling bad about yourself, but it's go in there and connect or communicate or comment on someone that you feel like what a beautiful kid or looks like a fun vacation or that sort of thing.

[00:17:34] So, again, a single act of kindness, Dr. Harding says, isn't necessarily a one off. Instead, like this, this entire kindness mindset can create a ripple effect of good, she said. Just as a series of rude incidents can make us feel ill, cascading good acts help us thrive as individuals and communities and by recognizing. All that we have in common, we have more power to shift destiny for ourselves and others than we might realize, and I love it. Dr. Harding said that sometimes she imagines a makeover to our world in the form of a movie montage. And I can't tell you if you are a client that has worked with me. I often talk about here's the movie montage, part of your life where the music kicks in and all of a sudden you're working hard and, you know, maybe you've got a lab coat on, you've got a dry erase board and you're drawing out diagrams or whatever it looks like. But I love this concept of thinking in terms of the movie montage when you really start to take action and put parts of your life together. But she said, like in Rocky or Groundhog Day, this movie montage, she said, how might our world transform if we all treated one another with dignity and kindness? And maybe, she said if her morning had gone differently, she would arrive at work in a better mood.

[00:18:36] She'd been more willing to troubleshoot with a colleague instead of hiding out in her office. Or maybe a kid sitting by themselves in a cafeteria finds himself after a kind of exchange with a classmate participating in the lunchtime Minecraft Club or a father embraces his estranged son or a woman asking for change on the street finds herself in an apartment sitting down to a candlelight dinner with friends. So perhaps of a vacant lot filled with broken glass, Dr. Harding says, becomes a grassy playground filled with kids. But how can you imagine kindness transforming the world? And that's where that led right back to author Henry James telling his nephew, three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. So now here we go. We're over a century later and now we have scientific evidence that shows that, quote is actually speaking to our health and to our communities. And I want to throw a little bit of a callback to an episode that I did. It was longer ago than I thought. I believe it is episode two hundred twenty five. So 40 episodes ago. And it was on something called the expectancy effect and what the expectancy effect was.

[00:19:39] This is from an article from the website called Science of People.com. And it's five and seven Edwards, and she's a national best selling author and founder of the popular website The Science of People.com, and she wrote the book Captivate the Science of Succeeding with People. And she talked about the expectancy effect. So let me read this. I quoted this this study in session so often because it is absolutely fascinating. I want you to take this in the context of this kindness that we're talking about. So once upon a time, a pair of adventurous, adventurous researchers and participants undergo a very unique experiment. They were told that they had to train rats to quickly make it through a maze. Now, here's the fun part. Half of the participants were told that they had maze bright rats that were carefully bred to be highly adept at completing mazes. So half of the participants had maze bright rats. They looked upon these rats as these things were champions. These rats were incredible. The other half were told that they had maze dull rats, that these guys were lazy. They had no training in completing mazes. So the participants had five days to train the rats to complete the maze. And after those five days, the maze bright rats were able to complete the task twice as fast as the maze dull rats.

[00:20:53] But of course, there's a catch. Probably already see it coming. There was absolutely no difference between the two groups of rats. Both sets of participants got randomly selected rats with no maze experience at all. None of the rats had been trained to go through mazes at all. None of them were. It were these championship rats. None were these lazy rats. They were just a group of rats. And I even think about this. I didn't talk about this in Episode two twenty five when I went into more detail, but I thought about this when we're looking through or scrolling through social media, looking at pictures and that sort of thing. And we see, you know, the kids and they're somebody else's kid and their sport playing sports. So they're on the beach or they're, you know, they just got a perfect score and something or they just passed a driver's test and maybe your kid failed the first round of their driver's test. Do you look over at your kid and you think, man, the guy is a maze dull rat, you know, are you or do you see this? Your kid is amaze bright rat. And that's the whole concept around the expectancy effect is that the rats are exactly the same. But the participants who were told that they had faster rats somehow than actually helped the rats perform better. And the study's been repeated over and over again.

[00:21:59] It's called the expectancy effect. So that expectancy effect is when someone expects a given result. That expectation unconsciously affects the outcome, a report of the expected result. So when a participant expects to have a certain kind of outcome, oftentimes they will without even realizing it, they'll change their actions. They'll change their behavior to actually get that exact outcome. And this concept can give you a lot of power, because when participants are told that they had a maze bright rat, they unconsciously change their training, they change their expectation, and they made those rats perform better. And when participants were told they had maze dull rats, they unconsciously became the worst teachers. They didn't train the rats well at all. They felt like these rats are lazy. I mean, what am I supposed to do with a lazy rat? And so dozens of studies have proven the expectancy effect outside of the lab with rats and dogs and humans alike. And I think that's one of the most fascinating, important things about the expectancy effect or about this concept that we're talking about, of just kindness, is that the answer is truly to be kind, because do you view yourself as a maze bright or a maze dull rat? Do you have an expectancy effect that you can figure things out, that you can succeed? Or do you have an expectancy effect, though? It's never going to work for me? Or do you look at your kids as maze Bright or maze dull kids? Do you look at your kids as if they are going to make it through that maze twice as fast as anyone else around them? Or do you put that expectation on them that what's the point, it doesn't matter? Or do you look at your spouse through that lens as well? Do you have a bright or a maze dull spouse? What you have is you have you you have your kids and you have your spouse.

[00:23:37] And so how we view them, a lot has to do with this expectancy effect. And I believe that underneath this expectancy effect truly is this concept that Henry James told his nephew that the most important thing in life is to be kind. The second is to be kind and the third is to be kind. So that's all we have for today. Folks, I would I would love to encourage you to go throughout your day to day and take a look at that expectancy effect. What are you expecting of yourself? What are you expecting of your kids? What are you expecting of your spouse? And it isn't expectations as then you better do this or there's something that you better do. But, man, I believe in this person. I believe in myself. I believe in my kids. I believe in my spouse that this expectancy effect than meeting that expectancy effect with kindness. I feel like that might just be the answer to putting the whole path of humankind, the human beings, on the path of goodness, of kindness, because there's a whole lot of struggle, of negativity, of animosity that's that's infiltrated a lot of good people, a lot of good areas right now.

[00:24:39] So that's that's my hope. My message for today is that we can truly lead with a little more kindness that we won't waste as much emotional calories or emotional energy on the negativity and that we can have this expectation effect of ourselves to begin with, but also those around us that will truly that will truly be able to to find those things that we're looking for in others and find the good in others and and bring out that expectancy effect so that we can all bump up our emotional baseline quite a bit, which I think will have a cumulative effect on not only you, your family, those around you, but sounds cliched and cheesy, but I'll say it the entire world. All right. Hey, have an amazing, wonderful week and have another bonus episode coming up at the end of this week. More information on that, probably on Thursday, maybe Friday. And I will see you taking us out, as always. And, boy, what a perfect time for this song. It's the wonderful, the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It's wonderful because truly. Isn't that what life is? I'll see you next time

[00:25:36] On the virtual couch

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram