Advice Column for Emotional Health, Self Help | Solutions for healing emotions, self esteem,
depression, anger, anxiety, fear, sadness, loneliness & jealousy - for personal growth & happiness.

Self Help Advice Column for Emotional Healing

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Personal Growth Advice Columnist for Emotions

























Archived Letters

Dear KRS,
I would like to ask two questions

1. I talk too much and that bothers me a lot. I even heard my friend saying," oh, you talk tooooo much!" I know when I start talking, I go forever saying repeating things, etc. I used to drink lots of coffee and soda. I thought it could be because of caffeine, but I stopped drinking them and it did not have any effect.

2. I live with my sister and both of us are Ph.D, students. When I come home at night, I talk forever about the things that happened in my lab. If I am upset I even call her lab and talk forever there. Sometimes, I feel it is out of my control. I know she is going through lots of stress at the lab, but she does not want to talk about it. I hate calling her lab all the time. People at her lab have given her lots of comments about it, etc. I was wondering if you have any suggestion for me how to really stop all of these things.
Talks Too Much

Dear Talks,
Sometimes people talk too much when they don't want to be with their uncomfortable thoughts and accompanying feelings. They temporarily postpone experiencing those feelings by escaping into talk with others. The negative energy is temporarily diverted outwards.

Like quitting any bad habit, you simply need to practice. Start a little at a time. Make a list of situations where you will stop talking (or reduce talking) for the week. For example, make a rule that you will not call your sister at the lab at all unless it's an emergency. If that feels too extreme, start with limiting the number of calls and each week reduce it a bit more until you stop. Each week you will reduce one more circumstance where you over talk. Bringing awareness to it and having specific goals will help you break the habit in time.

In addition, you will need to learn how to deal with those uncomfortable driving urges to talk, which will be challenging, but wonderfully growthful. Try some relaxation or meditation techniques when the urge to talk or call someone seems overwhelming. For example, a technique I use in my guided meditation CDs is mindfulness, where you notice where in your body you feel the driving urge (to talk, in your case). Once you locate those uncomfortable sensations in your body, sit down with them (with calming music playing softly if you like), and just “be” with it, be willing to let go of the urge to act out and experience what it feels like to sit with the urge. Relax into the sensations and let them dissolve.

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Dear KRS,
What do you think is wrong with a person who
hardly ever cries - yes, at sad movies, when pet dies, at weddings but not when someone "hurts my feelings." Not since I was very young and in love with a boy in high school. I stayed in love with him for several years after the relationship ended.

My father died many years ago and I didn't cry. Why? He was a great man. He was a hard worker. We used to pile up together in a chair on the weekends and watch TV. He was in all respects a great man. There were tons of people at the funeral, but his youngest daughter (me) stood there blankly. Why?

I am 34 now. I don't miss people or family when I am away for long stretches at a time. I have thought for a long time that I am fine emotionally, as long as I am not nursing a broken heart over a guy. That is the one type of relationship that I will hurt over. They are few and far between because I won't be with just anybody.

I just want to know what happened to my heart? I am not just speculating here. Things have happened besides the death of my father. I did not react. I can not react. You know how people will get themselves into bad situations or bad things will happen to them and they cry? Not me. I never cry. Sometimes I feel scared or isolated and experience other emotions but it doesn't bring me to tears. I can't "feel" it. I hope I haven't perplexed you. Do you have some suggestions for me?
No Emotions

Hi Emotions,
Since your emotional shut down started after the break up with your first boyfriend, you need to revisit that period of time emotionally and process the specific emotions that were happening at the time. Since you were so young and didn’t know how to deal with the upsetting situation, it seems that you just put up an emotional brick wall so you wouldn’t have to hurt like that ever again. Now it's time to break down that wall and let your feelings flow again in a healthful way.

Write about that time when you were so hurt. How did it feel? Did it make you feel unworthy? Rejected? Not good enough? Did it make you feel angry? Do you have anger now when you write about it.

Go back there emotionally and be willing to experience it all and write down absolutely everything that comes into your head. Scribble away and don't worry about proper grammar or if it is making perfect sense. Write about it every night until it seems you are done with it, until it seems there is nothing left to say and there is no “emotional charge” left when you think about it. Each morning burn the writing as you say something like, “I now release this forever and I am free to enjoy my life to the fullest!” Bring it up and then let it go. You might also want to do some anger work.

To help guide you on this journey, consider working with a therapist.

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Dear KRS,
I've recently been reading
a book on mindfulness. I'm about half way through presently. I guess I always knew I had issues, in particular relating to how I was abused as a child, mainly emotional and mental abuse along with some physical abuse. Right now I'm not sure if I'm experiencing more depression due to those experiences resurfacing or other reasons. My question is do you believe I should continue with the mindfulness on my own? Or if there is anything else I can do on my own, as I can't afford therapy right now.
- Mindfulness for Abuse?

Dear Mindfulness for Abuse,
When issues such as abuse have been lying dormant for awhile (or for a lifetime) the recovery/purification process can be uncomfortable, it's true. That you discovered mindfulness meditation at this point in your life seems not coincidental. It's a technique that can help ease the discomfort of your healing process.

Mindfulness techniques, journaling, anger release work and many other techniques are all valid choices but regardless of which approach(es) you decide upon, I would look for an experienced guide to help you. Ask friends or search (online) for therapists, counselors or facilitators who work on a sliding scale and/or with a limited no-fee basis for certain clients.

Doing deep inner work such as this presents the opportunity to clear out the emotional clutter that has been clouding your life experience, and in doing so brings you to a place of self-knowledge and peace that many others may never experience. Embrace the journey.

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Dear KRS,
I have been quite angry
and sad lately. I have 2 children (2 and 4 year-olds). I am a stay at home mom and find myself losing my temper quite often. Please help me.
Angry Sad Mom

Hi Angry Sad Mom,
I’m sure many moms can identify with you. When you’re down it’s hard to see the light or even ask for help sometimes, so I congratulate you for reaching out.

If you have any concern that your anger might come out towards the children, physically or psychologically, you must tell others around you (your husband and mother, for example) and ask for help in the household. Also ask them to help you find professional help (counseling). With guidance you can pinpoint the source of your sadness and anger and work through it. You might do some anger exercises to move the trapped energy of the emotion. Journaling may also be a helpful tool to help you gain insight as to the origins of these feelings.

Remember that even if you’re not “acting out” your anger or sadness overtly, your children will be picking up your feelings one way or another. Most importantly, they will not be getting “all” of you. An ongoing environment with a sad or angry mother is not healthful for your children. So don’t put this aside and try to tough it out – think of your children and take action.

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Dear KRS,
My mother
has been diagnosed with leukemia and is unable to tolerate treatments. Her doctor has placed her in hospice care with a prognosis of 3-6 months. Through a lifetime of practice, Mom has perfected the role of victim and the art of assigning guilt for her pain, physical and emotional, to others. 

At this point when the family is trying to draw near and be supportive, she seems to have gone into overdrive. She wants everyone to do all things, including live their lives, according to her rules. If any of us has good news to share from our lives, she is quick to tear it down. She is critical of everything and everybody, and her remarks are incredibly hurtful. Needless to say, my dad, who is her primary caretaker, takes the brunt of the abuse.

How can we best support her during these last days while not letting her guilt trips destroy us? 
Thanks for your help.
- Grieving Caretaker

Dear Grieving,
Fortunately, in recent years attention has been directed to the role of caretaker – and the importance of caretaking FOR caretakers. Before then, it was a silent struggle for so many who felt guilt over their conflicted feelings. We now are learning that caretakers can’t give (energy) they haven’t got, so it has become a priority to be sure that caretakers consider their own health needs as they care for the dying family member.
Recognize also that this process presents an excellent opportunity to let go, learn and change on the deepest level. Try to open your hearts to the idea of forgiveness for your mother on whatever level you can summon, which will be challenging when she’s “making her last stand.” Some people soften during the dying process and attain some level of enlightenment as the inevitability of the end presents itself; a surrender into the process and an opening to letting go of earthly travails. Others rage all the way to the end. [for a more complete understanding of this, check out books by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who fully describes the five stages of dying]. 

Keep reminding yourself that your mother is scared and trying to hold onto control in any way she can. Unfortunately, this manifests in heightened controlling behavior with her family. I once heard a loving wife say to her terminally ill husband (who was being rude to the aid): “Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you get to be rude to others.” It was a way of treating him in like a normal person, like she would if he wasn’t ill, and he responded very well to her, ceasing any further rudeness to the aid. You can try a version of that with your mother, but if her pattern of victim role is what you say it is, it’s iffy that she will respond positively. Having said that, I know that end of life “gifts” happen to aware people in all roles of this circumstance, so never give up hope.

I understand that you all would like a transformation from her and a healing to a lifetime of an unhealthy relationship with her. You’d like, in a sense, to get from her what you’ve never received. Your work now, is to let go of that expectation from her and instead (in the months ahead) learn to fulfill those needs yourself, being your own unconditionally loving parent (while strengthening the remaining family core, healing together and building something better together).

Your mother may still come around to softening and acceptance but either way, be sure to treat this as your own treasured experience; your own opportunity to learn and grow. While 3-6 months may seem long with this type of treatment from her, rotate your days, get your father out of the situation as much as possible (out to lunch, a walk around the block, etc) and keep letting go of the tendency to cling to her hurtful words – keep letting them go and wrap yourselves in the supportive love of each other.

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Dear KRS, 
I am a 25 year old woman
staying with my brother and sister-in-law. I have suffered from low self-esteem and pride, but have worked on it and have made a lot of progress. 

I used to take harmless comments as slander on my ability and intellect. I used to always think about my weaknesses and shortcomings, but for the last couple of months or so I have been recovering steadily with some help from good self-improvement books and articles and also some sound advice from the experts like you. 

I started concentrating on my future and my career and I was beginning to accept myself as I am, until yesterday when my sister-in-law said something that threw me off-balance again. I did not retort or do anything stupid but kept silent, thinking about it all day long. 

Although I appeared to be calm from the outside, there was a lot of turbulence within me. I kept rehashing the same thing, recreating the scene again and again and because of this incident my whole day got screwed up. I have been reading some books on keeping the mind balanced and poised and therefore tried very hard to not think about this incident and feel miserable. However, I could almost immediately feel the effect of losing my mental poise: lack of concentration, listlessness, lack of interest in anything, precisely the feelings I have been able ward off for the last couple of months. 

Why should an insignificant comment disturb my peace? Why should all my progress be lost in a moment because someone said something that hurt me? Doesn’t this display my mental weakness or is it just that I am a bit hyper-sensitive? 

Is this something that comes with age and maturity or is it something that can be implanted in oneself? If maintaining a mental poise at all times means mental toughness then how is it different from being thick skinned? 
Too Sensitive

Dear Sensitive,
Congratulations in working on yourself and trying to improve. I’m proud of you and I hope you are too, even now. Progress does not just steadily improve without some steps “back.” The important thing to realize is that these are really NOT steps back – it’s all part of your learning progress. The knowledge you have gained is still there. You must have faith in that. You are just being tested – stretched to the next level. Soon these incidences will have less power over you because you’ll trust the process and your ever-growing skills. 

You are a wonderfully sensitive person and for that reason you feel things a bit more than some. That is a good thing. (You may likely be artistic as well.) There is a book called “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron that you might want to check out. 

Try to be willing to feel the uncomfortable sensations associated with being hurt and accept them peacefully versus getting depressed or turned off by them. Say aloud “It’s okay that I have these feelings and repetitive thoughts, but I now give myself permission to let them go. I have no use for them – they slip from me like Teflon. I am a good person and I know that.” Judging and disliking your own reactions causes even more negative reactions and so the cycle goes. 

Know that these feelings shall pass and you will get better at dealing with them. Don’t be afraid to discuss your feelings with those people who hurt you. If you show vulnerability (versus anger), others will understand and most likely soften and communicate effectively with you. Often they may not even realize that they have hurt you and will be more than willing to apologize. 

Keep up the good work and hang in there.

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Dear KRS,
I’m a 26
year old male and for most of my life I have felt a certain emptiness. Growing up I never went without the basics but I suffered from bad relations with parents and at school spent a lot of time unhappy and distraught.

I have always had to deal with inner demons of having physical imperfections such as minor deformities of my arms from arthritis and the memory of someone trying to interfere with me at the age of 12 (which came back to haunt me during my teenage years).

I have never been able to have enough self confidence to establish a romantic relationship, instead seeking sexual relief with prostitutes on the odd occasion. The fear of rejection is my main worry and I seem to fail whenever I attempt a relationship. Despite this I have no problems interacting with people and manage a successful retail business dealing with many people on all levels everyday.

But I never feel “settled” and I have feelings of paranoia frequently. I cannot simply be happy in myself and feel that I never will. I tend to look for obstacles and get fixated on minor occurrences. I have been taking an anti-depressant for 12 months and don’t particularly feel any better. I would appreciate whatever advice you can offer me. What can I do to find inner peace and get on with living?
Fighting Childhood Demons

Dear Fighting,
Congratulations for wanting to change things versus trying to numb out and escape with addictive substances. You are young and there is so much you can do to help yourself.

1) Seek private counseling for the haunting memories. Getting it out in the open with someone professional can then help you release it. Your unhappiness, paranoia and negativity may all very well be related to this. So many people are admitting to similar memories these days that counselors are quiet well prepared to handle such problems. Interview many and find one with whom you feel comfortable. In some communities you will find counselors who work on a sliding scale. Arthritis is often said to be a result of holding resentments, so once you deal with the resentments of your abuse, you may also find your arthritis improves!

2) Do some writing about your memories - get it all out on paper: all your angry thoughts, resentments, fear, depression. Scribble it all down for several nights in a row. Each morning, read it over and then burn it as you resolve (aloud) to release this along with the memories, anger and resentments. This can be quite powerful work. Keep writing until you feel you have no more to say.

3) Spirituality - Happiness is an inside job, so I would prioritize your spirituality. Again, some experimentation may be in order until you find the thing(s) that work for you. I use meditation work with clients and get good results (you might enjoy my guided meditation CDs - or those of other experts you can find online such as at:

Hang in there. As Joan Baez said "As long as one keeps searching the answers come."

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Dear KRS,
I was wondering
if you could help me cope with an emotional issue. I’m a freshmen in High School and whenever I get angry or mad, I almost always cry. Sometimes I’ll just get mad at myself on the basketball court or something and I’ll start to get teary eyed. Whenever this occurs I just try to think about something happy, but sometimes I can’t hold back my frustration and I cry. Any tips or advice on my problem would be appreciated.
Cry When Angry Student

Dear Angry Student,
Congratulations for having the desire and courage to resolve this issue rather than pushing it away.  Every obstacle presents itself to us as an opportunity for inner growth. In facing this you may well be digging deeper than others in your class who appear on the surface to be gliding through effortlessly.  Here are a few suggestions to help you make use of this wonderful challenge.

First, recognize that the expression of emotions (such as crying) is a normal human experience.  Too many people stifle their emotions because they don’t want to appear foolish or be different than what they’ve observed from their parents or in society.  In fact, you may be so busy trying to hold back the emotion that it never gets “completed” so it keeps trying to get out in bits and pieces.  When emotions are unexpressed or "pent up" they can often come out "sideways" in inappropriate circumstances.  Practice these exercises daily and you will become “friends” with anger and it will no longer frighten you or take you by surprise. 

1) Anger-releasing exercises. Take a tennis racket or something similar and hit your bed or a cushion. You can also use your fist or an actual sponge-type bat sold for this purpose. Forget about feeling silly and hit as hard as you can.  Scream, yell or let any words come out as they will. Don't worry about forming sentences or being proper.  Let it come. Continue until you are exhausted, then rest for a one minute, staying focused.  Then repeat the exercise until exhausted again.  Repeat one more time (3 times total).  Tears may come - let them.  If you want to repeat more than three times, feel free.  You are unleashing all those trapped feelings.

2) Meditation Techniques. One technique I use is to name the area of your body where you can feel the  anger in your body.  You can practice this by sitting quietly with your eyes closed and relaxing for a moment.  Then imagine playing basketball and getting upset. 

Really get into it (try it right now).  Then, ask yourself where you are feeling that anger in your body or ask “Where in my body does it feel like I want to cry?”  It may be a small area or your whole body - it doesn't matter where it shows up. The point is to relax into those uncomfortable sensations and feel them completely.  BE with the sensation.  What does it feel like?  Can you just allow it to be there as you breathe and relax into it?  You’ll notice that it gradually gets less intense or even goes away completely. Keep working on this.  It's very powerful, exciting work that will help you with more than your anger.
KRS Edstrom

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Dear KRS,

I suffered a great deal of stress in my teenage years, and what I could only describe as a 'black', depressive period in my life 5 years ago - which coincided with extreme back pain. Five years later, I suffer from stomach problems as well. Question: Can stress cause these physical symptoms? If so - now that I have found the most wonderful partner, my true soul mate, and am blissfully happy...... Is it possible, that the pain may subside?

Bad Childhood – Bad Back

P.S. No Physical Evidence was found by my GP or Chiropractor whom are both confused by me!

Dear Bad Back –

Stress can absolutely cause or contribute to just about any physical or mental ailment. Since you are now in a satisfying relationship (congratulations!) you may find that some or all of your pain may subside. However, I would take an active role in “helping it along” rather than the more passive role of “hoping.”

Practice relaxation techniques and gentle stretches or yoga. Flexibility will help restore your energy flow throughout your body, re-establishing balance to body and mind. Consider journaling about this “teenage angst” that got lodged in your body. Bring it up, then release it: write all about it, holding nothing back, then burn your writings with the resolve that it is now “permanently gone from my life.”

You may want to also get some counseling to help guide you shorten this journey. Pain can be such an insistent but wonderful teacher if the student is open. Don’t miss this chance to evolve.


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Dear KRS,

I have noticed an increase in aggression and anger in me lately regarding my 4 year old daughter and 10 month old son. I sometimes find myself yelling and screaming at them for the smallest of problems or situations. I know the best thing to do is to leave the room and come back later. I just am not able to control my outbursts. I’m currently going off a medication (Paxil), I have weaned myself from 10mgs a day to 2.5mgs every other day. I don’t EVER want to hurt my children, and my reactions are beginning to scare me. If you have any suggestions to help me get a grip, and relax and enjoy life and my wonderful children, please help. Thanks

Angry Mother

Dear Mother,

Don’t feel alone. Many mothers are stretched emotionally from the demands of raising young children. Unfortunately, guilt for having negative feelings about their children causes some mothers to keep their experience a secret until it is too late. 

First, I suggest that you consult your doctor immediately regarding your medication instead of self-medicating (“weaning yourself off” and so forth). Be sure to share your concerns about your children with your doctor. If your current doctor is too drug-oriented in his/her approach to problem solving for your liking, find a doctor (perhaps a good gynecologist) who will take the time to listen to you and has experience with this type of issue. 

Next, I suggest you consult a psychologist in your community that also has experience in this area and share your concerns. Consider a group session with other mothers having the same problem. Finally, be sure to talk openly to your spouse and extended family members about what you are going through. Don’t be shy about asking for their help while you are healing. It is important at this time that you get the support you need so you can start feeling better and get back on track as soon as possible.

Make some time for YOU each day. If nothing else, take a wonderful tub soak with candlelight (after you’ve put your little ones to bed). Play some soft music and unwind. Also play soothing music during the day (versus the noisy and usually negative TV). Your children will respond just as positively to the music as you will.

You might also want to try some anger work. It only takes a few minutes. Alone in a room, hit a pillow as hard as you can until you are exhausted. You can use your fist or a racket or anything. Repeat 2 more times. You may even start crying as the emotions become unblocked and find their way out. Let them come. Afterwards, you’ll find yourself less angry towards the kids, life and everything else.


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Dear KRS,
I am going through a problem right now and I’m hoping you can help me out.

THE PROBLEM: When someone wrongs me (unsolicited advice, criticism I do not find constructive, rudeness, patronizing me, etc.), I feel that if I do not stick up for myself beyond positive self-talk, it makes the offensive comment true! It is a very frustrating feeling, and I do not know what is causing it. I feel like I have to always refute the other person when they put me down. I feel this strong drive to be assertive, insult others back who have insulted me, justify my choices, and to try to offset possible rumors the criticizer may be spreading about me. 

I am stuck in the irrational mindset that I always need to speak up to make my personal opinions be heard. I know that it should be possible for my own opinion to count just as much even if I don’t voice it. I am having trouble achieving this and I really need some help. 

Also, I know that in some situations, such as at work, it isn’t always in my best interest to speak up (even if I am right). How can I develop the skill of keeping quiet, but not feeling as if what the critic is saying is true? 
Sensitive to Criticism

Dear Sensitive,
Even Ghandi probably felt a twinge when untruths were spoken about him. So, I’d like to first suggest that you lighten up on yourself regarding your negative reactions to your negative reactions to criticism. It is a normal human response to feel hurt when negative things are said about us, whether they are true or untrue. 

Low self-esteem can heighten one’s reaction to criticism, because on some level you believe the criticism to be true. In other words, the “truth” hurts, whether it is true or not as long as some part of you believes the untruth to be true. Harsh words from others hit an insecure nerve in you which produces a response to raise your voice to deny and hopefully eradicate the perceived unflattering truth. 

On the other hand, if you are self-confident and know the criticism to be completely false, you will react with less volatility knowing that others will see the truth as you do. If this rings a bell with you, work on building your self-esteem, for example with affirmations such as: “I know who I am and I accept myself unconditionally.” When doing affirmation work be sure to use affirmations that truly resonate when you repeat them. 

It is also acceptable to correct untruths when you hear them. The challenge here is to communicate your feelings in an enlightened non-attached manner, leaving angry emotions behind. Practice new language such as “It hurts me that you say those things.” Showing your vulnerability is perhaps the most effective skill you can implement when communicating but it is also the most difficult emotion to expose when you are feeling attacked. 

Finally, consider doing some writing about your negative feelings and let your wiser self comfort and counsel your insecure angry self. Express your negative feelings in your writing but then let your higher self bring reason, love and calm to your inner storm.

This is an emotional challenge that has big payoffs in spiritual growth and personal development. Acknowledge the little victories along the way and don’t be upset by occasional setbacks. It is all part of the journey. Hang in there and work through it. It is worth it.

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Dear KRS, 
I’ve been suffering from depression for two or three years now. A friend suggested that I take up yoga and nutrition counseling. I’ve started the yoga. I also sent away for information from a nutritional counselor and I have to say I found it unconvincing. It didn’t sound scientific to me.  

Should I keep on looking for someone else? Should I take the position that if I’m eating a well-balanced diet, I don’t need nutritional counseling? I’m aware of the Dept. of Agriculture’s "pyramid" and I try to follow that. Is nutritional counseling likely to be successful in treating my depression? 
- Depressed

Dear Depressed,
I'm proud of you for seeking solutions for your depression.  Two-thirds of the 18 million Americans who are stricken with depression each year do not get appropriate help. Because of its very nature many people often just don't make the effort. 

1)  Nutrition and herbal supplementation.  It sounds as it you are following a pretty healthful diet.  A few things you might take a look at in this area are excess sugar intake and allergies (wheat is a common one) as both can contribute to depression.  Also, have you tried herbal supplements such as St. John's Wort?  They have been quite effective with many people, but start gradually and under the guidance with an experienced alternative health practitioner.

2)  Hormones.  I don't know how old you are, but if you are in your 30s, 40s or 50s you might be having some adverse hormonal reactions.  Your GYN can help determine this with a simple blood test.

3)  Meditation.  This is so helpful for mental states.  It helps quell uneasy (emotional) waters and restore balance.  

Hang in there, maintain an optimistic outlook and keep trying.  You CAN get through this – and the journey can be surprisingly enriching.

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Dear KRS,
I have a friend who has been living with AIDS for several years now.  She recently found out she has cancer, and now the doctors say that she may not make it to summer.  

She’s an otherwise strong person, with an excellent positive attitude. I was hoping that you might have some ideas on how I can feed that positive attitude, or just know the right words to say.  I want to write her a letter but I don't know what to say.  I’d appreciate any guidance you might be able to offer.
- Friend Dying of Aids

Dear Friend Dying,
How inspiring that you have chosen to prioritize your friend’s feelings over your own painful feelings at this time.  Many people back away from those who are ill, particularly at the end, because they feel inadequate and/or consumed with sadness.  

Every situation and relationship is a little different but there are some basics for you to keep in mind, such as the healing effects of humor.  Remind your friend of funny experiences you both shared and relive them.  Escape into the laughter together.  

Consider calling your friend as well as writing her.  The energy of a loving human voice has a powerful healing effect, both physically and emotionally.  Whether you call or write, the most valuable thing you can offer your ailing friend at this point is the sentiment that is in your heart.  Remind your friend of how much good she has done on this earth and how much she means to you.

If you feel your friend is not in denial about dying and seems to want to talk about it, encourage yourself to gently ask her about any fears she may have.  This is the hardest question for supporting friends to ask, but often the most important.  More often than not, floodgates of thoughts and emotions will open from the dying person.  Listen.  Follow your friend into this conversation and keep it going with loving, honest feedback and further questions, if appropriate.  If writing, encourage your friend to communicate her fears. Depending on her faith and how far she seems to want to go with you, you may even explore a conversation about letting go of her fear and anticipating her pain-free union with God. 

Ask your friend if there’s anything you can do for her.  When I asked a terminal patient if he was afraid to die, he answered quite quickly that he was most afraid that he wouldn’t get to say goodbye to his family.  Since he was too weak to write, I asked her if he’d like to dictate letters to me for each of them.  He loved the idea and was able to sign them himself.  

After this session I noticed that calmness seemed to replace his former state of agitation.  [An interesting footnote:  The letter writing experience to his family members seemed divinely guided.  I was able to turn off “me” during the writing and didn’t recall anything I had written when we were through.]  I delivered the letters to his family members after his passing.  It was beautiful. 

Trust your intentions, work from your heart and your friend will feel your love. 

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Dear KRS,
I am usually pretty rational in times of stress or emergency situations but I am still having difficulties dealing with the World Trade Center attack. It seems so needless and is just off the charts in regards to reason or logic. Can you help me get a healthier perspective on things?
Still Traumatized by WTC Attack

Dear Traumatized,
You are not alone in your reaction and, because of the emotional charge that this event carries I have even debated about offering advice on the subject. However, with letters like yours, I see a need for positive energy, so I will humbly offer what I can and hope it helps.

Start by nurturing yourself. If that sounds selfish, just remember that you cannot give to others what you haven’t got. If you are stressed and uncentered, that is the energy you will emanate. Make an unedited list of your current needs, allowing all your subselves to contribute, such as inner child, angry teenager or whoever wants to be heard. Your list may range from "lie on my stomach and draw with crayons" to "get a massage" to "contribute to WTC funds" – there are no "shoulds" for your list. After your "needs list" is completed, make it a reality.

Next, remember your spiritual roots and resource them. I say "remember" these roots because in times of stress people often get "out of themselves" and become vulnerable to prevailing negative energy. They can detach from their spiritual center and merge with surrounding chaos. Conversely, after spending even an "hour" in re-centering yourself through meditation, prayer or other vehicles, you will experience the world and its events through different eyes. Instead of picking up (and being swept away by) negative energy, you will pick up (and emanate) positive, healing energy. It’s almost magical. These are the times to implement that core of spirituality inherently yours. What you’ll discover in making an effort toward this, is that you have a deeper well of spirit than you realized.

Finally, let’s talk about perspective. Since there is not expert in the world who can give us a logical "cause" for the WTC attack, we are allowed take an open-hearted global view of this. Consider that possibility that an event as dramatic and far-reaching as the WTC attack is what is took to get the world to take action against evil. After all, the existence of this evil has been known for years, but we allowed it to continue and proliferate. It took something big, something that couldn’t be denied to bring us to action. Not only is the WTC event bringing the United States to action, but it is appearing to do what’s never been done before – unite the world toward a common goal. It would not be unfounded to theorize that the WTC event will lead to greater political reciprocity between countries. And, after seeing several moving multi-denominational services and memorials since September 11, why not allow ourselves to also hope for a deeper religious (and maybe one day we might just say deeper spiritual) acceptance. If we allow and even nurture these positive "what ifs" in our own minds, the energy of those healing thoughts can overpower the negative and perhaps we can one day say that the lives lost on September 11, 2001 were not in vain; that those souls were our unknowing guides to the biggest step ever in the evolution of consciousness and spirituality on this planet.

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Dear KRS,
I think I am a type A personality because I get angry very easily. For example, if someone cuts me off in traffic or if I don’t like the way someone looks at me in the market, it can set me off. Since these seemingly normal occurrences go on all the time, I tend to be worked up most all the time. The result is that it has now developed to where I get so upset that I vomit and am now on migraine headache medication. I would like to loosen up. Is there anything I can do to help myself?
Angry at Everything

Dear Angry, 
When emotions are unexpressed or "pent up" they can often come out
"sideways" in inappropriate circumstances. Some suggestions:

1) Emotion-releasing exercises. Take a tennis racket or something similar and hit your bed or a cushion. You can also use your fist or an actual sponge-type bat sold for this purpose. Forget about feeling silly and hit as hard as you can. Scream, yell or let any words come out as they will. Don't worry about forming sentences or being a lady. Let it come. Do it until you are exhausted, then rest for a bit, staying focused. Then repeat the exercise until exhausted again. Repeat one more time (3 times total). Should tears come, think of them as a positive release of your trapped anger and welcome them. Repeat this exercise daily until you feel your anger coming into balance.

2) Meditation techniques. One technique I use is to name the area of your body where the anger is located. Start by sitting quietly with your eyes closed and relaxing for a moment. Then imagine being cut off in traffic. Really get into it (you can even do it right now). Then, ask yourself where you are feeling that anger in your body. It may be a small area or your whole body, it doesn't matter where it shows up. The point is to relax into those uncomfortable sensations and feel them completely. BE with the sensation. What does it feel like? Can you just allow it to be as you breathe and relax into it? Keep working on this and you will notice that the tension around the anger will start to dissolve, and with it, the anger. It's very powerful, exciting work that will help you with more than your anger.

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