Moving from Venting to Feeling

Anna Stookey joined us yesterday for a discussion on Your Caregiving Journey about emotions and instinct and how they affects our decision-making process. You can listen to our show via the player at the end of the post.

Often, a change occurs which leads us to make a decision. Particularly with caregiving, the change causes us to feel sad, lost, grief stricken. Anna encouraged us to really feel and name the emotion associated with the change. Consider the difference between these two statements:

"I feel sad that Mom's health is really declining."

"I can't believe Mom's health is getting worse! Why is this happening now? Can't I get a break?"

Certainly, you'll have times when all you can say is: "Can't I get a break?" And, there certainly is value in the venting. The goal would be to move toward understanding the emotion behind the vent so you can move forward to a good decision.

And, when you understand what you feel, you can move others (such as your care recipient, family members, siblings) into more productive discussions about a decision. For instance, when you tell family members that your care recipient's health is declining, you can say: "This is hard. It's hard for me because I'm sad that the Mom I knew is disappearing. What's hard for you?"

Finally, we spoke about how our instincts help us with our decisions. Anna asked how I use instincts to make a decision. For me, my instincts help me visualize the decision's end result. Meaning, if an option I'm considering is a good one, then my instincts help me visualize the decision in place. Conversely, if an option isn't the right one, then I can't see it working.

We'd love to know: How do your instincts help you during a decision-making process? And, if you currently find yourself struggling with a decision, what's the feeling for you behind the decision?

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